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Business - Real Estate

Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-03-11 07:37:35
A $40 billion deal for Dubai firm Arabtec to build one million homes in Egypt may mark the start of politically-inspired Gulf investment in the country's creaking infrastructure, from housing to transport, power generation and agriculture. Egypt's economy is recovering only slowly from the turmoil that followed its 2011 revolution. Its government lacks the cash to build infrastructure, while political and business risks are still far too high for most companies to invest in projects. But with the Arabtec deal - one of the largest construction contracts ever announced in the region - Egyptian and Gulf governments appear to have found a formula to channel billions of dollars into the economy in a way that serves their political and economic interests. The construction company said on Sunday that it had agreed with the Egyptian army to build the homes at 13 locations around the country on land provided free by the armed forces, which own a large amount of financial assets and real estate. The deal lets the army-backed government tackle a housing shortage that has been a grievance bringing Egyptians onto the streets in the past three years. Army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi can tout the project in a presidential election campaign which he is expected to mount this year. By using such deals to shore up the popularity of the Egyptian army, governments in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) can keep at bay the Muslim Brotherhood, an arch-enemy of the Gulf monarchies. The Islamist movement ruled Egypt until its overthrow by the military last year. Gulf companies awarded such projects can gain market share in Egypt with only moderate risk, since they have the backing and protection of their governments. In Arabtec's case, the deal could help to transform it from a mid-sized firm into a regional construction giant. "We'll see similar deals in the coming period, whether it is in energy, oil and gas, roads," Karim Awad, co-chief executive of EFG-Hermes, Egypt's biggest investment bank, told Reuters. "Investors from the GCC are also showing interest in developing those sectors, including renewable energy." Egypt's assistant minister of investment Neveen El Shafei said talks with potential Gulf investors "on various levels and different sectors are ongoing, and we hope more deals will be concluded in the near future". The importance of the Arabtec deal goes well beyond its economic impact, said John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at MASIC, a Saudi Arabian investment firm. "It's a state capitalist project of trans-national magnitude that basically tells the world that the GCC will be there to support Egypt no matter what," he said. AID Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have promised over $12 billion in aid to Egypt since last July, when the army ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who was backed by the Brotherhood. Large sums of additional aid are expected. In the initial months, the donors focused on averting a financial crisis, stabilising Egypt's foreign exchange reserves and helping the government to pay its operating costs. The Arabtec deal signals they have now begun trying to engineer stronger growth for the Egyptian economy, hoping to ease political tensions by cutting unemployment and raising living standards. Construction of Arabtec's "middle-income" homes is expected to start in the third quarter of this year, with the first to be delivered in early 2017 and the whole project to be completed before 2020, the company said. Some details of the plan have not been released and some have not been decided. But Arabtec's chief executive Hasan Ismaik told Reuters that initial financing would be provided by the UAE government, while the rest would come in the form of advance payments and instalments paid by the home buyers. The homes will be bought over periods of 10 to 20 years, and Arabtec has reached agreements with 40 banks to provide financing to the buyers, Ismaik said. Last month, Egypt's central bank said it would deposit low-cost funds at banks so the money could be lent on as cheap mortgages. By giving a central role in the project to a UAE company, the Arabtec deal appears to ease at least partly a concern of the Gulf donors: that their money could be wasted through corruption or Egypt's inefficient bureaucracy. It is not clear that the project will be very profitable for Arabtec, which is listed on the Dubai stock market. This may explain the relatively sluggish reaction of Arabtec shares to the news; they rose only 1.7 percent on Monday. Local financial firm Arqaam Capital kept its "buy" rating on the stock but said it feared Arabtec would enjoy only modest profit margins. It also said the company would face execution risks, since it had never managed a project nearly as large. Ismaik himself indicated he was not counting on big profits: "We look at the project more as UAE aid to Egypt than we look at its expected revenue." But Arabtec's overriding motivation may not be commercial; its largest shareholder is Abu Dhabi state fund Aabar , which owns a 22 percent stake. That makes it a logical vehicle for the UAE's economic diplomacy. Even if profits are slim, the firm may benefit in other ways from the project. The contract is worth about $8 billion annually, more than five times Arabtec's 2012 revenues of $1.5 billion; by taking on the work, it may at a stroke become one of the largest construction contractors in the region. The deal effectively uses some of the UAE's oil wealth to finance overseas growth of one of its leading firms, in much the same way that some Chinese construction firms have moved abroad by working on projects funded by China's government. Aabar may already be compensating Arabtec in markets other than Egypt; last month the Abu Dhabi fund said it would assign all future construction work in its $20 billion real estate portfolio around the world to the Dubai company. PROJECTS Other areas where Gulf companies are likely to consider government-backed investments in Egypt include power generation, which has been a constraint on industrial growth, oil and gas extraction, which would earn the country badly needed foreign exchange, and agriculture, since food price inflation threatens political stability. Saeed Mohammed al-Tayer, chief executive of state-owned Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, said on Monday he believed other UAE and Egyptian firms were discussing energy and petrochemical deals. He did not name the firms. The UAE's Dana Gas, a privately-owned firm, said last month that it was upgrading an Egyptian natural gas production plant to increase its capacity by 25 percent. The Egyptian government owes it $274 million in unpaid bills, according to Dana; investing in Egypt in line with governments' wishes could help it recover that money. Gulf firms are already active in Egypt's farm sector. Since 2007 Abu Dhabi investment firm Jenaan has accumulated about 67,200 hectares of arable land there, growing wheat for Egyptian consumption. The Arabtec deal "could mark the beginning of similar infrastructure projects that involve GCC companies which have experience and depth, but also the required financing and at the same time the willingness to undertake such mammoth projects," said Sfakianakis. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-03-09 20:27:05
Arabtec Holding, Dubai's largest listed construction firm, has agreed with the Egyptian army to build one million houses in a project worth 280 billion Egyptian pounds ($40.23 billion), it said in a statement on Sunday. The project, one of the biggest in the region, is seen as a boost to the country of 85 million which has been struggling to attract tourists and foreign investors, amid political turmoil, and saw its foreign reserves drop to a critical low last year. It will cover 160 million square meters across 13 sites in Egypt for lower income individuals. The company said it expected that work on the project would start in the third quarter of this year and be completed before 2020. The firm did not say how the project will be financed but Hasan Ismaik, Arabtec's chief executive told Reuters on the sidelines of a press conference in Cairo said that the land will be given for free. Ismaik added that there will be an agreement with around 40 banks in Egypt to provide financial facilities for limited income individuals. Egypt's economy has been struggling since a mass uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 when millions of Egyptians took to the streets calling for social justice and better distribution of wealth as well as an end to corruption. One year later, the same demands emerged bringing an end to Islamist President Mohamed Morsi who was toppled after only one year in office when the army, prompted by mass protests, ousted him on July 3. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have pledged more than $12 billion to help boost Egypt's economy. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-03-09 15:18:05
Egypt’s powerful military chief is launching a housing initiative to build a million homes for the poor, in the first campaign-style move by Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who is widely expected to run for president. Military spokesman Ahmed Ali said on Sunday that the “For Egypt’s Youth” initiative will be established through cooperation between leading UAE construction company Arabtec and the Egyptian armed forces. The collaboration is planned to continue for five years, Ahram Online reported. The initiative is dedicated to “Egypt’s youth” and is a first step to solve the country’s housing problem. Senior generals close to Sisi have told The Associated Press he is focusing on the country’s myriad of economic problems. On Sunday, El-Sisi, who is minister of defence, met with managing director of Arabtec Hassan Abdullah Smeik to discuss the details of the project, including where the units will be built, and the time frame of the work. “This project is the fruit of the wise guidance of [UAE’s crown prince] Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed and his concern for providing support to the current Egyptian leadership for the advancement of Egypt,” said Smeik during the meeting, adding that his company is proud to collaborate with the Egyptian armed forces in establishing “the largest housing project in the Arab region.” Smeik added that the project will not only provide millions of low-income Egyptians with housing, but will also provide jobs for more than one million people. The UAE, a staunch opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been a strong supporter of transitional authorities in Egypt. The Gulf state has provided Egypt with almost $7 billion in grants, loans and oil shipments since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Speaking to the Financial Times in February, Mohammed Kandil, political secretary at the Egyptian embassy in Abu Dhabi, said that the UAE is keen on having its aid used to finance “projects that have specific development or non-profit goals and are directed at poor people.” Sisi hasn’t made an official announcement yet, but has strongly indicated he would run. The elections expected in April are the first since the military ousted elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July following mass protests against him. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-03-05 10:09:45
Egyptian property developer Talaat Moustafa (TMGH.CA)'s net profit for 2013 rose 7.2 percent year-on-year to 585.19 million Egyptian pounds ($84.1 million), it said in a statement published by the bourse on Wednesday. Talaat Moustafa's revenues reached 4.86 billion pounds in 2013 in comparison with 4.64 billion pounds the previous year, Reuters reported on Wednesday. More»
Amwal AL Ghad Engish - 2014-02-27 07:15:12
Egyptians Housing Development & Reconstruction (EHDR) reported financial results posting a net profit of LE 2.5 m for 2013. Noting that, the company reported LE 7.8 m in the previous year. More»
Mohamed Hamdy - 2014-02-25 11:59:38
Head of the Mortgage Finance Fund Mai Abdel Hamid revealed that the fund is aiming to finance 60 thousands new units through Central Bank’s initiative of mortgage finance on the units provided by the fund will be applied starting next week. Abdel Hamid stated that there are a number of amendments on the procedures related to reserving these units so that people of low-income could benefit from this initiative. She added that the initiative will half the interest rate on mortgage finance to 7 percent instead of 14 which will help increase the number of people who reserve the units. Abdel Hamid said this initiative will help ease the housing crisis in addition to the social housing project and other projects implemented by the state and private sector. More»
Amwal AL Ghad Engish - 2014-02-24 08:24:53
Abraaj Capital, today announced an agreement to acquire two Egyptian companies listed in Egyptian stock market. Cairo for Investment and Real Estate Development (CIRA) announced that Abraaj group has made a Mandatory tender offer to acquire 100% of its shares at a price per share not exceeding EGP 20.5. The company added that an initial agreement has been signed through Huxley holding Ltd which is owned by funds owned by Abraaj, with the shareholders representing the controlling stake in the Cairo for investment and real estate development. Abraaj also confirmed that it has signed, through Huxley Holdings Ltd a limited liability company incorporated in Malta and owned by Funds advised by Abraaj, an agreement with shareholders representing a controlling stake  of Cairo for Investment and Real Estate Development , a leading education group, outlining the intent: (i) for Huxley to issue a mandatory tender offer on the Egyptian Stock Exchange  to acquire 100% of the shares of the Company at a price per share not exceeding EGP 20.5, (ii) for the Promoters not to tender their shares in the MTO and to transfer their ownership to a special purpose vehicle owned by the Promoters, and (iii) post completion of the MTO the Company shall initiate a capital raise process for EGP 100m to which Huxley shall subscribe in full. The capital injection will be used to fund investments in the education sector in Egypt. More»
Amwal AL Ghad Engish - 2014-02-18 08:39:57
Emaar Properties' Egyptian subsidiary, Emaar Misr, will spend up to 6 billion Egyptian pounds ($861.91 million) on a residential and commercial project in Cairo after signing a protocol with Egypt's government, it said in a statement. Emaar Square is part of its 4.5 million square metre development called Uptown Cairo which will cost up to 12 billion pounds. On Sunday, Emaar signed a protocol with the Egyptian Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Investment and the Cairo authorities in order to start work on Emaar Square. The firm will begin work on Emaar Drive that will connect Uptown Cairo to key destinations in central and greater Cairo. Egypt has struggled to attract foreign investors due to economic and political instability after the popular uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The army, prompted by mass protests, overthrew the country's first democratically elected leader Mohamed Morsi in July and the government launched a crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood supporters, sparking another wave of unrest in the country of 85 million. But the army-backed interim government, supported by more than $12 billion in aid from Gulf Arab states, is pushing on with a political roadmap that will lead to presidential and parliamentary elections this year. More»
Marwa Hemdan - 2014-02-17 13:24:11
Emaar Misr will sign within next week a protocol on cooperation with the Egyptian government so as to carry out its Emaar Square Project, with investments worth EGP 6 billion. Emaar Misr is set to sign the protocol on cooperation with Egyptian Ministries of Defence, Investment, and State for Local Development, as well as Cairo Governorate and Al Nasr Housing and Construction. Upon the protocol, Emaar Misr will start carrying out its Emaar Square Project, which is part of the Uptown Cairo Project centered in the heart of Cairo nestled atop the majestic Mokattam Hills. Moreover, the protocol will include the terms and regulations to implement traffic axes linking East Cairo to West Cairo areas through Emaar Drive project. Emaar Drive is an Emaar Misr project that will connect Uptown Cairo to key destinations in central and greater Cairo. It will directly link Uptown Cairo to the 6th of October bridge and the Ring Road. The phase one of The Emaar Drive Project will enhance ease of access of travelers coming from West Cairo areas such as Mohandeseen and Zamalek through 6th of October Bridge, to the last exit landing on the extension of Ramsis Street. The new road will connect directly to Uptown Cairo’s main gate on the Nasr city side. The trip time from the 6th of October Bridge exit to the Uptown Cairo gate through the new road will be less than three minutes, it added. Phase two of the road project will link Uptown Cairo to the ring road and New Cairo through Shaheed Highway, and will be completed soon. This also complements the Government’s plans to move government entities to New Cairo to overcome the congestion and space constraints in downtown Cairo and facilitate commuting to and from central Cairo to New Cairo.Emaar's project will provide 5,000 temporary job opportunities during its construction period along with more than 15,000 permanent job opportunities after construction. Since inception in 2006, Emaar Misr has carried out businesses worth EGP 10 billion through its three projects; Uptown Cairo in Downtown, Marassi in the North Coast, and Mivida in New Cairo. These implemented businesses approximately account for 20% of the company’s expected investments which are estimated at EGP 53 billion. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-02-17 09:05:34
El Kahera Housing & Development (ELKA.CA) will hold a general assembly meeting  on February27 in order to discuss reducing the issued and paid up capital of the firm through cancelling the treasury shares. The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) has recently approved to hold the meeting regarding reducing its capital through cancelling the treasury shares which its value up 3.721.998 and the nominal share value reached EGP5 with EGP18.609.990 total value. More»