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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Manazel eyes Saudi real estate partnerships in 2018

Abu Dhabi-based developer sees growing demand for mid-range housing across Mena

Manazel Real Estate chairman Mohamed Al Qubaisi  (right) speaks to visitors during Cityscape Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike / The National
Manazel Real Estate chairman Mohamed Al Qubaisi (right) speaks to visitors during Cityscape Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike / The National

Abu Dhabi's Manazel Real Estate, the developer behind mid-range housing schemes including Al Reef Villas, plans to enter Saudi Arabia in 2018, amid what it describes as “significant demand" for affordable housing across the Mena region.

“We are looking at a range of opportunities to expand into dynamic growth markets and broaden our revenue base especially within the kingdom’s market, which has always been significant to us,” said Manazel’s chairman Mohamed Al Qubaisi said in a statement on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange on Sunday.

“As part of our expansion strategy we will continue to focus on entry into new markets which offer ‘untapped’ value and support our growing real estate portfolio,” he added.

Manazel will enter the kingdom “through targeted developments” by the end of 2018, it said, giving no further details.

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Saudi Arabia is primed to undergo fiscal transformation as it works to implement its Vision 2030 economic transformation strategy, presenting new opportunities for investment in the non-oil private sectors. Vision 2030 envisages that 52 per cent of Saudi families will own homes by 2020.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), the country's sovereign wealth fund, last month announced the establishment of a real estate refinancing company aimed at boosting home ownership in the kingdom. PIF estimates the country's real estate financing market will rise to 500 billion Saudi riyals (Dh489bn) by 2026 from 280bn riyals this year.

Manazel said, on top of this, there was significant investment opportunity in the development of real estate investment trusts (Reits) across the GCC, tax reforms and the development of Saudi Arabia’s leisure and tourism sector.

“This strategy will deliver significant returns for our shareholders over the longer term and I look forward to reporting on further progress shortly,” he said.

The developer, one of a handful of companies listed on Abu Dhabi’s secondary market, reported an 81 per cent rise in first half profits in August on the back of a 54 per cent increase in revenues and a drop in impairments.

Manazel said in October it would expand into building schools as it seeks to create new revenue streams beyond residential development.