Emaar signs MoU to develop Libyan special zone

Published November 14th, 2006 - 08:17 GMT

Global real estate major Emaar Properties has further expanded its geographic reach in North Africa by joining hands with Libya’s leading development zone, the Zowara-Abou Kemash, to set up a joint venture company in the country.

The joint venture company will act as the main developer of Phase 1 of the Zowara – Abou Kemash area including Farwa Island. It will develop residential, commercial, industrial, educational, healthcare, leisure and entertainment components that are planned to attract foreign investment and generate employment opportunities for Libyans.

Mr Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties, and Engineer Al Saadi Moaamar Al Qazafi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Zowara-Abou Kemash Development Zone signed the MoU today in the presence of senior officials of Libya and representatives from Emaar.

“Through this joint venture in Libya, Emaar is consolidating its presence in North Africa as we have already launched several landmark projects in Egypt and Morocco,” said Mr Alabbar. “Libya, as an emerging market, holds great potential for growth. The country has announced a series of steps including plans for privatization that are the key pillars in its transition to a more free market economy.”

He added: “Emaar is privileged to partner with Zowara-Abou Kemash Development Zone, which has the state’s mandate to develop the Zowara – Abou Kemash area, encourage foreign investments and create a tourism, industrial and commercial environment that sustains long-term growth.”

Engineer Al Saadi said: “We are focused on developing the country’s infrastructure to further support the trade, tourism, industrial and services sectors, which will create economic alternatives and reduce dependence on oil revenues. Through our partnership with Emaar, we want to leverage on the company’s proven track-record in conceptualizing and delivering mega projects. These projects will energize the local economy by creating more employment opportunities and strengthening foreign investment.”

The new joint venture company will soon start work on the masterplan of the special zone. “We have already initiated steps for all the necessary strategic, financial, marketing and technical studies required for the master plan,” said Mr Alabbar. “The joint venture will also take all necessary measures to implement the master plan by entering into contractual agreements, raising finance and helping in attaining the goals of the Zone.”

Ever since Libya partially liberalized rules on foreign investment, there has been a marked increase in the country’s inward capital flows. Principally driven by the hydrocarbons sector, the country is now taking concerted steps to open up several other economic sectors including real estate and tourism.

Emaar’s international expansion and diversification plans are in line with its Vision 2010 to become one of the most valuable companies in the world. The property developer has announced projects in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, India and Pakistan, and is also diversifying into education, healthcare and retail.

About Emaar Properties PJSC:
Emaar Properties, the Dubai-based Public Joint Stock Company and one of the world's largest real estate companies, is listed on the Dubai Financial Market and is part of the Dow Jones Arabia Titans Index. The company recently announced that its net profits for the three quarters ended September 30, 2006 reached AED 4.658 billion (US$1.268 billion) – a significant gain of 26 per cent over the same period in 2005 - reflecting the remarkable growth the company has gained since its inception in 1997.

With more than 14,500 homes handed over to customers, Emaar has several major real estate projects under various stages of development in Dubai. An ISO9001:2000 quality certified company, Emaar is marching ahead with the construction of its AED 73 billion (US$20 billion) Downtown Burj Dubai mixed-use development that encompasses Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest tower when completed in 2008.

The company has joint ventures and projects across the region covering Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Pakistan and Lebanon. In Saudi Arabia, Emaar is developing the US$26.6 billion (SR 100 billion) King Abdullah Economic City, the single largest private sector project in the Kingdom.

Emaar also entered the US market by acquiring John Laing Homes, the second largest privately held homebuilder in the US for AED 3.856 billion (US$1.050 billion). Emaar joined hands with The Turner Corporation, a leading international building services provider, to form a new entity, Turner International Middle East Ltd (Turner International ME) to jointly tap regional growth opportunities.

In a move that scaled up its core competency in product sales across the international arena, particularly the Western hemisphere, Emaar acquired Hamptons International, the UK-based subsidiary of premier property developer Wheelock Properties (Singapore) Ltd in a deal worth AED 562.45 million (US$153.05 million).

Last year the property developer announced plans to aggressively expand the retail sector with investments of over AED 15 billion (US$4 billion) to develop approximately 150 malls in the larger emerging markets of the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and the Indian subcontinent. In addition, Emaar has teamed up with Giorgio Armani S.p.A to build and manage 10 Armani hotels and resorts across the world; an Armani hotel will feature in Emaar's flagship Burj Dubai tower.

Emaar’s education initiative will involve the establishment of international schools in the MENA region and India, which will offer premium quality education and an integrated curriculum for students ranging from kindergarten to tertiary levels. Emaar's healthcare diversification will see the company invest around AED 18.35 billion (US$5 billion) over the next decade in the MENA and South Asia markets with the construction of hospitals, clinics and medical centres and the investment in the provision of world-class healthcare services.

Emaar has diversified into related business lines to further build value for its shareholders, which includes the Government of Dubai. Emaar owns and manages EMRILL, a joint venture with the UK-based Carillion which provides innovative property and facilities management services. Emaar also holds 30 per cent equity in Dubai Bank, focused on retail and commercial banking and is the majority shareholder in Amlak Finance, UAE's leading Islamic home financing company. For more information, visit www.emaar.com.

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