At the third time of asking, the General Assembly of real estate giant Solidere reached quorum and proceeded to approve, as expected, a motion not to distribute a dividend on 1999 results. The company registered a $3.7m profit in 1999 compared to one of $54.2m in 1998. Solidere Chairman Nasser Chammaa disclosed that Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal may call a halt to the planned $250m development of a Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Beirut due to the unfavourable economic situation and government hold-ups of construction permits in the central district. Sources suggest that over 50 permits valued at in excess of $500m have got stuck in bureaucratic red tape in the offices of the Beirut mayor and municipal council. A vote on a proposal to allow Interior Minister Michel Murr to re-purchase the Murr Tower, the building which was planned to be transformed into a new Trade Centre, was postponed. This issue has long been rumoured to be a stumbling block in the company’s efforts to progress with its development plans.