CapitaLand set to expand into more projects in the Gulf

Property developer CapitaLand is looking to expand in a big way in the Middle-East.

It has set its sights on large scale projects – similar to one that was recently launched by the company.

‘Raffles City Bahrain’ is a US$800 million property and retail development in Manama, the capital city of
Bahrain and it is just a first step for CapitaLand in its expansion plans for the Middle-East.

The Bahrain project is seen as providing a gateway into the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Martin Tan, CEO, CapitaLand Commercial and Integrated Development, says: “Capitaland is looking throughout the entire GCC. We’ve started, obviously, in Bahrain, but we’re also looking at Saudi Arabia.

“We’re looking at the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, and of course, Qatar as well. And in all these geographies, we are looking at bringing our entire range of expertise, be it commercial, retail, residential inclusive of hospitality units as well to come together and deliver something similar to our Bahrain bay concept, meaning integrated city developments like Raffles City Bahrain.”

Also in the pipeline are plans to put the development into a REIT. But that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

CapitaLand says it will wait for Raffles City Bahrain to be fully constructed, which will take another two and a half to three years.

CapitaLand says their new projects in the Gulf will be large-scale.

They are expected to cost hundreds of millions of US dollars, similar to Raffles City Bahrain.

“Each of the Gulf States obviously has their own dynamics. It’s hard to say which is best among the six GCC states. We tend to be guided by partners that we will find in each of these locations, the specific opportunities, meaning the type of real estate that we can bring and the structure of the deal, what we can bring to the table, what our partners can bring to the table and what we can ultimately offer our investors and to the customers who will use those products,” says Mr Tan.

But the company is not totally ruling out smaller commercial projects such as retail malls or residential developments.

For now, CapitaLand is on the hunt for more partners in the Gulf, such as the investment bank Arcapita which is its partner for Raffles City Bahrain.

Source: Channel NewsAsia, 21 December 2006 

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