x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Arabtec hires architect for $40 billion Egyptian housing project

Designs for the first phase are expected to be submitted by September, with contract awards slated for two months later.

Arabtec Holding has hired a UAE-based architect to master plan the construction of a million low-cost homes in Egypt.

The contractor said that it recruited Architecture and Planning Group to be in charge of planning the US$40 billion mega project.

“We are in charge of the project’s master plan to allocate 13 plots across Egypt for the housing units,” El Sayed Zakaria, the managing director of Architecture and Planning Group told TheNational. The company has branches in Cairo, Alexandria, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, according to its website.

The project will be implemented over three phases, according to Mr Zakaria.

Designs for the first phase are expected to be submitted by September, with contract awards slated for two months later.

The first phase will include housing units in Cairo’s industrial districts of Al Aboor and Badr City, along with the upper Egyptian governorate of Minya.

Some analysts expressed caution over the viability of the project.

“In its last conference call, Arabtec management declined to give any guidance on its $40bn MoU signed with the Egyptian ministry of defence. The management mentioned that the agreement is still in the structuring phase,” said Kareem Ghaly, an equity analyst at the Egypt-based investment bank EFG-Hermes.

“The company did mention, however, that it will hold an analyst day in the coming weeks to disclose more details about this agreement. Until more solid facts are disclosed, we would remain cautious on the prospects of such an agreement.”

In March, Arabtec said it had begun talks with the Egyptian government towards setting up a joint venture to build the low-cost homes.

Ties between the UAE and Egypt have deepened in recent months. The UAE extended $6bn in support of the Arab world’s most populous country following a revolution and the removal of Mohammed Morsi as president in July.

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have also extended assistance as Egypt struggles with lacklustre growth and a dearth of investment.

selgazzar@thenational.ae

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