Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Imkan eyes Egypt expansion with second major project

Exclusive: Abu Dhabi-based property developer has invested Dh885m in a New Cairo city plot

Imkan's cheif executive Walid El Hindi is bullish about property sector in Egypt. Victor Besa/The National 
Imkan's cheif executive Walid El Hindi is bullish about property sector in Egypt. Victor Besa/The National 

Imkan Properties, an Abu Dhabi-based developer, is boosting its portfolio of investment in Egypt with plans for a second major development as it begins handing over units from its Dh15 billion Alburouj development in Cairo, its chief executive said.

“We believe in long-term [growth] aspect of Egypt as it is very stable from an investment point of view. We’ve been seeing the level of changes the government is doing, which is very positive and very transparent,” Walid El Hindi told The National on Monday.

“They [the government] have put together the new investment law and the new urban community associations have been very helpful," he said, adding that transparency in the country's real estate law and land prices makes Cairo an attractive investment destination.

The company, a subsidiary of private equity firm Abu Dhabi Capital Group, has bought a 166-acre plot from the Egyptian government to develop a mixed-use project in New Cairo near the American University campus for 4bn Egyptian pounds (Dh885 million).

It plans to begin developing this within the nine to 10 months and is expecting to complete the scheme in five years, he said, without revealing the overall cost of the development.

Imkan, which launched its mixed-use Alburouj project three years ago, delivered the first five units to customers this month, before the Eid break. The development, catering to middle income and upper middle-income segments, is expected to be completed in 10 years.

“We just handed over our first five units to our customers, which is a big milestone for us. There are over 3,000 units under construction currently in Alburouj,” Mr El Hindi said.

The project is being built on 5 million square metres of land and includes a mall, a sporting club, a school and a cultural hub. When completed, it will contain 15,000 units including apartments and townhouses, he noted.

Imkan is financing the development through a mix of equity, proceeds from sales and loans from banks, he added.

“The demand is definitely there and will continue to be there. The projection is that Egypt in 2050 will have a 150 million population. The true opportunity is in understanding the new customer,” Mr El Hindi said.

The company is currently working on 26 mixed-use projects worth Dh100bn in different countries including the UAE, Egypt, Morocco, Seychelles and Sri Lanka.

Imkan is building several projects in its home market of Abu Dhabi, including Al Jurf located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi; Pixel, a mixed-use project in its Makers District master development on Reem Island; Nudra, a luxury beachside villa community, and Sheikha Fatima Park, with retail and food and beverage outlets.

The company this week appointed China’s CNTC as the main contractor for the Pixel project, which will contain seven towers. Work on the site will begin immediately and the project is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2021, the company said in a statement earlier this week.

Conditions remain tough in Abu Dhabi's residential property market, with JLL reporting a 15 per cent year-on-year decline in apartment prices and a 6 per cent drop in villa prices in the second quarter but the stock of new homes built in recent years has only increased gradually, meaning the market does not face the same supply pressures as in neighbouring Dubai.

Moreover, despite the headwinds, the overall property market situation, he said, is positive on the back of various government initiatives including the introduction of long-term visa for investors. JLL's report also said the new residential freehold law "formalising foreigners’ rights to own land and property within Abu Dhabi’s investment areas" is also likely to stimulate demand.

Updated: August 20, 2019 08:21 AM

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