Phone firm’s 2020 vi­sion

UAE com­pany pre­pares for fur­ther in­vest­ment

7 Days in Dubai - - BUSINESS - Busi­ness@7days.ae

One of the UAE’s most prom­i­nent com­pa­nies is edg­ing closer to mak­ing its shares pub­lic.

Al Habtoor Group LLC has been weigh­ing up the move since 2000, ac­cord­ing to its Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Mo­hammed Al Habtoor. He made the com­ments in an in­ter­view with Bloomberg TV.

“We have all the doc­u­ments ready, all that we need to do is to up­date all the in­for­ma­tion to in­clude rev­enue from the re­cently com­pleted Al Habtoor City project,” he said.

His fa­ther, bil­lion­aire Kha­laf Al Habtoor, said in De­cem­ber 2012 that the Dubai-based in­vest­ment and con­tract­ing com­pany was post­pon­ing a share sale be­cause it didn’t see suf­fi­cient op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­vest the pro­ceeds.

“We didn’t find an op­por­tu­nity that would give us good re­turn to give share­hold­ers,” Kha­laf Al Habtoor said in the 2012 in­ter­view at his of­fice in Dubai.

“We looked at safe mar­kets, like Ger­many and Bri­tain and we found that in the ar­eas we know, there is noth­ing but re­ces­sion.”

Al Habtoor Group, which is spend­ing $500 mil­lion to build a re­sort near Dubai with a St Regis Ho­tel at the cen­tre of three polo fields, bought ho­tels in the UK, Aus­tria and Hun­gary.

The com­pany is con­sid­er­ing fur­ther ac­qui­si­tions in large Euro­pean cities, as well as de­vel­op­ing real es­tate in East­ern Europe, said Mo­hammed Al Habtoor.

He said that de­mand for ho­tels in Dubai is sta­ble.

“For now it’s not bad. I don’t want to be too op­ti­mistic,” he said.

Dubai is aim­ing to boost the num­ber of tourists it at­tracts to 20 mil­lion by 2020 and is press­ing ahead with ho­tels, leisure and entertainment venues.

Eco­nomic growth in the UAE may reach 2.6 per cent this year, ac­cord­ing to the mean es­ti­mate on Bloomberg, af­ter 3.9 per cent last year.

Oil has man­aged to lose more than 50 per cent of its value in the past two years.

Al Habtoor Group’s most prof­itable di­vi­sion, Al Habtoor Mo­tors, ac­quired al­most two-thirds of Mit­subishi Fuso’s dis­trib­u­tor in Saudi Ara­bia, the au­tomaker’s truck brand, ear­lier this year, Mo­hammed Al Habtoor said.

The com­pany also holds the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the re­gion’s sole sup­plier of Bent­ley and Bu­gatti cars. The site of Expo 2020 Dubai will be one of the fastest, smartest and best con­nected places in the world dur­ing the global mega event through a part­ner­ship with the Eti­salat Group, ac­cord­ing to na­tional news agency WAM. Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Min­is­ter of State for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion and Direc­tor Gen­eral Bureau Expo Dubai 2020 wel­comed the an­nounce­ment of the part­ner­ship with Eti­salat. “Com­mu­ni­ca­tions that took six weeks in 1851, when the first Expo took place, now take six mi­crosec­onds,” he said. Saleh Al Ab­dooli, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of Eti­salat Group, said: “As part of the part­ner­ship, we aim to bring to­gether our peo­ple, tech­nolo­gies and ex­per­tise in telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and dig­i­tal ser­vices and so­lu­tions for an on-time ex­e­cu­tion of com­plex projects. “In a world where dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies are re­defin­ing the way peo­ple in­ter­act, live and work, creat­ing a bor­der­less and in­clu­sive global com­mu­nity, Eti­salat is hon­oured to have the op­por­tu­nity to con­trib­ute to the Expo 2020 Dubai.” Un­der the deal Eti­salat will pro­vide the es­ti­mated 25 mil­lion vis­i­tors to Expo2020 with on site wi-fi.

HIGH RISE: Al Habtoor City

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