Upbeat Dubai World defies crunch

Posted On Monday, 20 April 2009 02:00 Published by
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Dubai World, owners of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront are going ahead with major investment projects in South Africa despite the global economic slump.

By Simpiwe Piliso

Dubai World, owners of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, in Cape Town, are going ahead with major investment projects in South Africa despite the global economic slump.

Billions of dollars’ worth of developments worldwide, including in South Africa, have been shelved by major developers.

But this week Dubai World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said: “We are proceeding with new projects and investments. Our investments in South Africa continue to perform strongly in the current market ... and we are certain that our long-term investment vision in South Africa will continue to produce positive results.”

A Dubai holding company, Dubai World manages and supervises a diversified portfolio of businesses and projects globally. It is involved in property development, hospitality, maritime, financial services, multi commodities and retailing.

Its latest development was Sun King Sol Kerzner’s R1-billion One & Only Cape Town luxury hotel, which opened earlier this month at the V&A Waterfront. Dubai World is the major equity partner in Kerzner’s hotel and also provided finance for the project.

One of Dubai World’s major shareholders is the ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The sheik is also vice president and prime minister of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, who was among the celebrity guests at the hotel’s star-studded opening two weeks ago, said: “Our strategy is to invest in high-end assets in key destinations around the world that deliver real, measurable results. Our South African portfolio is certainly performing to these criteria.”

Ranked as the world’s third-most influential Arab by the Arabian News, one of the UAE’s biggest newspapers, Sultan Bin Sulayem said the company’s investments indicate that “there are still positive opportunities for continued growth within our South African investment portfolio”.

His company recently announced plans to invest 1.5-billion (R13.3-billion) in Africa over the next five years, extending Dubai World’s reach over the commodity-rich continent. Dubai World, which was launched as a holding company in July 2006, has already amassed a multibillion- rand portfolio in South Africa. Under its subsidiaries, Dubai World Africa Services (DWAS) and Leisurecorp, Dubai World has a major stake in popular wildlife reserves, including Shamwari Game Reserve, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve and Jock Safari Lodge, in Nkomazi, in Mpumalanga, and Pearl Valley Golf Estates, a 170ha championship golf course development in Western Cape.

But Dubai World’s prime investment is the 123ha V&A, of which only 55percent is being developed.

The property boasts 35ha of water, 89 buildings, 934 tenants, more than 80 restaurants, about 350 residential units, 17 conference and function venues and seven hotels, some of which have been completed, with others in their final phases. One & Only is the eighth top-end hotel to open at the V&A Waterfront.

Dubai World plans to start new developments on the estimated 240000m² of available land. The Dubai company, which operates in more than 100 cities in 60 countries, and employs more than 100000 people worldwide, acquired the V&A for R7-billion in 2006 and announced that an additional R7-billion would be invested over the next four years .

DWAS managing director Mike Griffin, who joined the company in January and is based in Cape Town, said several other projects and developments are being undertaken or considered by DWAS.

Source: The Times

Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge

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