x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Union Properties nears Ritz-Carlton sale

Union Properties, Dubai's third-largest property developer by market value, hopes to finalise the sale of the Ritz-Carlton in the emirate this month as it seeks to raise cash to pay debts and finish projects.

Union Properties, Dubai's third-largest property developer by market value, hopes to finalise the sale of the Ritz-Carlton in the emirate this month as it seeks to raise cash to pay debts and finish projects. Khalid bin Kalban, the chairman of Union Properties, said the company was "in serious talks" with two investors, one from the UAE and one from Saudi Arabia, and expected to get close to the asking price of Dh1.5 billion (US$408 million).

"We are going back and forth with the price and the conditions of the deal, such as the transfer of ownership," he said. "But I think we'll get it for close to the asking price ? It's one of the biggest deals to happen this year." Mr bin Kalban said the money raised from the sale would be used to reduce the company's debt with banks as well as complete projects such as the multibillion-dollar Motor City in Dubai.

Union Properties will also sell other hospitality assets, including two Marriott Executive Apartment blocks, one in Deira and the other in the Green Community, "if the price is right", Mr bin Kalban said. Union Properties returned to profit in the first quarter after losses totalling Dh498m last year. But its stock has lost more than 44 per cent of its value this year. Simon Cooper, the president and chief operating officer of Ritz-Carlton Hotels, told The National at the Arabian Travel Market in May that he expected the Ritz-Carlton hotel to open by the end of the year. The hotel is located at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

He said the company's management contract would not be affected by the sale of the property. "Our contracts survive sales," said Mr Cooper. "Our hotels change hands but that doesn't impact us." @Email:agiuffrida@thenational.ae @Email:rbundhun@thenational.ae