Former Arabtec chief executive plans return to UAE property market

The former Arabtec chief executive Hasan Ismaik is set to make a comeback in the UAE.

Mr Ismaik, the chairman of Jordan’s Capital Housing, announced plans to raise up to 300 million Jordanian dinars (Dh1.56 billion) to move into property development in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt in addition to the company’s existing developments in Jordan.

“Financial bodies and businessmen from the UAE, Saudi, Qatar and Jordan have expressed interest in investing in the company and contributing to its capital increase to meet our planned expansion needs,” he said.

“The company will be opening an office in the UAE, where we are interested in investing in the real estate sector in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, especially as the real estate market in the UAE is one of the world’s leading and most lucrative, thanks to laws and regulations that promote investment.”

He added that the company, which is taking part in this week’s Cityscape Global exhibition at Dubai World Trade Centre, would look into the possibility of listing Capital Housing’s shares on one of the UAE’s financial markets in the future.

Mr Ismaik previously had designs on the region’s housing markets during his period as the chief executive of Arabtec.

The company doubled the size of its capital base in July 2013, raising Dh2.4bn to pursue an expansion strategy that included the creation of an affordable housing business to build modular properties across the Arabian Gulf and India.

It is also seeking acquisition targets and higher-margin opportunities in oil and gas and infrastructure projects.

Mr Ismaik also announced the creation of a property development subsidiary in 2013 and signed the initial agreement with Egypt’s Abdel Fattah El Sisi to build one million homes at a cost of up to US$40bn in March 2014. However, some of the terms of this deal are still being negotiated.

After Mr Ismaik’s tumultuous departure from Arabtec in June last year, the board distanced itself from some of his expansion plans, saying it would focus on its core business of construction. Many of his key managerial appointments also left the business.

Meanwhile, the UAE-based owner of the Sotheby’s International Realty franchise has also announced plans to grow its footprint across the region.

Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty chairman George Azar has agreed to a 25-year, GCC-wide franchise deal for the luxury real estate brokerage brand, which he has said would lead to seven new offices opening.

The company will open one branch each in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, and three in the Saudi Arabian cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

“Our clients are sophisticated wealthy and institutional investors who need to understand the underlying fundamentals of the markets in which they invest,” said Mr Azar.

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