x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Arabtec wins $40 billion housing contract in Egypt

The deal represents a milestone for Arabtec. It would be the company’s first major project as a developer since it announced plans in December to grow beyond its roots as a contractor.

Dubai-based Arabtec has won a US$40 billion contract to build a million low-cost homes in Egypt, in what is believed to be the largest housing project in the Arab world.

The deal represents a milestone for Arabtec. It would be the company’s first major project as a developer since it announced plans in December to grow beyond its roots as a contractor.

Arabtec’s best-known projects as a contractor include the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is currently under construction, and the Burj Khalifa.

The housing deal was announced yesterday by Egypt’s defence minister, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah El Sisi, as a plan to help solve Egypt’s housing problems.

The country is to hold a presidential election as soon as next month and Field Marshal El Sisi, though he has not officially sought the job, is widely expected to run.

Arabtec said the deal would create a million jobs in Egypt.

“This is a move which will create homes and jobs,” an Arabtec spokesman said. “The idea is that the government gives land to Arabtec to develop homes which are then sold off at preferential rates to Egyptians.”

Arabtec estimates that there is a shortage of 3.6 million homes across the Middle East and North Africa.

The news is the latest in a long line of recent announcements by Arabtec aimed at diversifying its business away from the cyclical UAE construction market.

Last June, Arabtec raised Dh2.4bn in a rights issue, which it said would be mostly used for its expansion and diversification into affordable housing and oil and gas operations.

In May 2012, Arabtec revealed that Aabar Investments, owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, had become the company’s single largest shareholder with a stake of 21 per cent.

lbarnard@thenational.ae

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