x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Al-Futtaim lands loan to help finance mall in Egypt

Al-Futtaim has signed a loan deal valued at 2 billion Egyptian pounds (Dh1.34bn) that it says will accelerate work on what it claims will be the largest mall in Egypt.

Al-Futtaim has signed a loan deal valued at 2 billion Egyptian pounds (Dh1.34bn) that it says will accelerate work on what it claims will be the largest mall in Egypt. "It's great news, we're happy that the loan was available to us," said Marwan Shehadeh, the managing director of Al-Futtaim Capital, the investment and business development arm of Al-Futtaim of Dubai. "Not many projects today would qualify for such a loan. It's a big sign of confidence in our project."

The subsidiary signed the syndicated 10-year loan in Cairo with a consortium of banks. The loan, which was announced this month after last month's signing, is an indication that family-owned businesses can still get financing. "Anyone, even an individual, that can get a significant loan today from any bank in the GCC has a solid creditworthiness," said Sofia el Boury, the assistant vice president of research at Shuaa Capital.

Festival Centre is being built at Cairo Festival City, a mixed-use community covering 3 million square metres in New Cairo. The mall will encompass more than 298,026 sq metres and cost 3.4bn Egyptian pounds. It should have roughly 250 outlets over a gross leasable area of 158,675 sq metres. The three-level shopping centre, which had been scheduled to be completed by the end of next year, will be finished at the end of 2011 and open to the public in early 2012, said Mr Shehadeh.

The delay was not due to a lack of funding, he said, but was inevitable with a project that size. It is now more than 35 per cent complete, he added. "It was moving along, and now that we've got the loan, which is great news, it will help us accelerate now." aligaya@thenational.ae