x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Al-Futtaim's $2bn plan for Morocco stalls

Al-Futtaim Capital's plans to finance and build a US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) affordable housing project in Morocco have stalled.

Al-Futtaim Capital's plans to finance and build a US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) affordable housing project in Morocco have stalled while the company awaits Moroccan government approval. Al-Futtaim Capital, which is the investment arm of the Al-Futtaim Group, one of the Gulf's largest family-owned conglomerates, said in June last year it would build 40,000 homes in Bouznika, halfway between the capital Rabat and the business centre, Casablanca.

The move came after five years' consideration, at a time when Morocco's government said it needed 1 million new homes. The project was to have been built over 10 to 15 years, and funded by the Al-Futtaim MENA Real Estate Development Fund. "We need a lot of government approvals to proceed, which are proving difficult to obtain," said Marwan Shehadeh, the managing director of Al-Futtaim Capital. "We never actually entered into the project, it was an option. So we're basically evaluating whether to move ahead with the option or not."

In 2004, the Moroccan government launched a programme to provide at least 100,000 housing units each year to help eradicate shanty towns. Other UAE investors have entered the Moroccan market, including Al Qudra Holding, which joined Addoha Group in building 359 villas in Tamesna. agiuffrida@thenational.ae