Arabtec Holding, one of the Middle East’s largest construction companies, is heading into the real estate development with the launch of a new property subsidiary according to an article in Gulf News .
Arabtec Real Estate Development Company will initially develop residential housing in Abu Dhabi and Dubai before expanding into other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the wider Middle East and North Africa market, the company said in a statement on Sunday.
Arabtec  will launch joint ventures with other real estate developers and investors in the UAE and Middle East.
“With the real estate industry now showing strong signs of recovery, expanding into the development market presents itself as an attractive proposition,” Hasan Abdullah Ismaik, Arabtec’s Chief Executive Officer, said in the statement.
The subsidiary is being launched to focus on opportunities to develop affordable housing, a segment Arabtec said is severely underserved with an estimated shortage of more than 3.6 million affordable housing units in the Mena region. Arabtec Real Estate will rapidly expand in key high potential markets, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco, along with the UAE.
The company did not release a start date for the subsidiary, instead stating that project evaluations were underway and would be announced in due course.
Arabtec’s portfolio includes the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest tower, and Abu Dhabi landmark the Emirates Palace Hotel.
It reportedly has a backlog of construction projects worth about Dh30 billion ($8.2 billion) and is planning talks with Egyptian authorities to develop affordable housing projects. Last week, Arabtec denied market speculation that it was looking to buy engineering firm Drake & Scull.
Arabtec shares closed flat on Sunday at Dh2.79 a share