Thursday, January 31, 2008

Emaar Boss Bullish on Pakistan

Talking with CNBC today, Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Chairman of Dubai-based Emaar Properties, said he believes Pakistan represents a great investment opportunity for his company as it goes global. In fact, he repeated it twice to convince Erin Burnett, the CNBC anchor, who appeared surprised. He further said Emaar sold a major project yesterday within hours of launch in Pakistan.

A massive real estate project valued at $43b by Emaar is underway in Pakistan to develop two island resorts near Karachi. This is Emaar's single largest project and supersedes the $26.7 billion King Abdullah Economic City project in Saudi Arabia announced in 2006. This project will include office buildings, hotels, apartments, shopping malls, restaurants, golf courses, and beaches. The two islands will be self-contained cities spread over 30,000 acres of land.

Emaar has already energized the Pakistani economy with development projects worth $2.4 billion. Emaar has unveiled its first master planned community in the country — Canyon Views in Islamabad. The company has also announced the highlands project in Islamabad and Crescent Bay in Karachi. It has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Port Qasim Authority for a mixed-use land development comprising residential, retail, commercial and hospitality components.

Another Dubai-based company, Abraaj Capital, has acquired land in Karachi's financial district to build Karachi Financial Towers (twin-towers) to cater to the booming banking sector in Pakistan.

Apart from creating new job opportunities for Pakistanis, these projects will support ancillary industries and strengthen foreign investment inflow into the country.

Arif Masud Naqvi Vice-Chairman of Dubai based Abraaj Capital said that Pakistan is a country of enormous business potential, and investors are comfortable and see opportunity rather than risk.


Riaz Haq said...

An NED alumn Sibte Jafri reported via email: The first phase was ovebooked in less than an hour of opening of the counter. Then there was ballotting. Those who one were given a piece of paper. That piece of paper is already 10 times its original value.
There is no demarcation. Not even one pick ax has hit the ground. Only leaflets and pamphlets and Emmar's name sells.
It is said that one apartment presently priced at Rs 20 million will change hands much before its completion at more than twice this amount.
There are investors planning to buy a whole tower, to resell later.
One tower would on the average consist of 80 to 160 apartments. The payments would be in instalments according to phases of completion. All payments shall be strictly cash!
All this investment is on account of public enemy number 1 you know who.
The stupid fellow does not take commissions, does not have palaces in Surrey, Paris and Dubai does not own sugar and steel mills in Pakistan. What a shame.
Unless his children study in Oxford how can he feel the pain of children studying in Govt Schools? He can't even gift his wid $80K necklace to his wife paid for through a Swiss Bank issued Credit Card. Shame

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report on "targeted killings" in Karachi:

At least 50 people have been killed over the past fortnight in targeted killings in the Pakistani city of Karachi, rights groups say.

The violence started with an attack on 12 March on the offices of a local political group allied to Pakistan's governing political party, the PPP.

Dozens of people have since been targeted on an ethnic or sectarian basis across Karachi.

Police officials say most of those killed belong to the Pashtun community.

Karachi has been the scene of growing ethnic tensions due to the arrival of thousands of Pashtuns fleeing conflict in north-western Pakistan.
'Politically motivated attacks'

Police say the number killed is lower than the estimate put forward by human rights groups.

"According to the figures we have, 109 people have died in violent incidents since 12 March," Saud Mirza, chief of Police in Karachi, told the BBC.

"Out of these only 34 people have been killed in politically motivated attacks."

But the police statistics are contested by local journalists and human rights activists, who say that the actual number of victims is much higher.

They say that the police only confirm political activists or leaders as dying in targeted killings - whereas in reality many more die in attacks carried out against people of specific ethnicities by gunmen.

While most of the dead are ordinary citizens - usually belonging to the Pashtun community - civilians from the Baloch and Urdu-speaking community have also died.

Local Pashtun activists say Karachi's largest party, the MQM, is behind most of the violence. The MQM denies this.

On Monday, a senior MQM leader blamed the violence on gangs of extortionists and land grabbers who had taken the city hostage.

Dr Farooq Sattar was speaking after President Asif Zardari said in an address to parliament that those destroying the peace in Karachi would be dealt with severely.

However police say that several arrests have been made of individuals involved in the killings.

"The situation is now being brought under control," police chief Saud Mirza said.

But human rights organisations say the situation in Karachi is increasingly dangerous and a cause for great concern.

"The continued spate of targeted political killings in Karachi is appalling, as is the inability of the political actors in the city to negotiate their differences peacefully," said Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan representative of Human Rights Watch.

"It is the job of the provincial and central governments to ensure the writ of the state is established in the metropolis.

"They must ensure that all political parties complicit in these target killings - whether part of the provincial coalition or not - should be held to account.

"It is a documented fact that all political forces in Karachi, whether it is the MQM or the state, have engaged in human rights abuses including targeted killings in the past."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's the latest on Emaar's Crescent Bay as reported by Express Tribune:

The Pakistan Defence Officers Housing Authority (DHA) and the Dubai-based international construction giant Emaar are at loggerheads over the much-advertised and much-delayed 108-acre Crescent Bay project in DHA Phase VIII’s waterfront zone E.

DHA has filed a petition against four companies — Emaar Giga International FZCO, Emaar Giga Karachi Limited, Emaar Properties PJSC and CEO Global Marketing Services (GMS) Shaukat Qureshi — in the Sindh High Court. It won a stay order on June 27 until the next hearing scheduled for July 12, The Express Tribune has learnt.

DHA and Emaar Giga International had signed a memorandum of understanding on May 20, 2004 to construct 46 towers in three ‘uniquely designed’ bays.

According to Emaar Pakistan’s website, each of these three bays was to be “encircled by a community with its own unique look and character, which extends from the architecture to the landscaping and the street furniture.” Crescent Bay One was set to feature a hotel, malls, a waterfront promenade, piazza, four office towers, surrounded by green spaces, parks and plazas. Crescent Bay Two was to house residential towers complete with a Waterfront Retail Arcade running along the beach. Crescent Bay Three was termed the most exclusive of the residential neighborhoods, with controlled vehicle access, and a luxurious waterfront promenade.

However, even though more than seven years have passed since the deal was inked, DHA contends that only two towers and that too only till the second floor have been constructed, even though Emaar has collected more than Rs1.5 billion from its customers in advance.

Moreover, out of the 110 people who were allotted plots in Crescent Bay, 100 of them are in litigation against Emaar and many of them are demanding their money back.

Sources in DHA said that their beef with Emaar was not only due to the fact that the international construction giant owes it Rs600 million, but also because “it was trying to create a DHA within DHA.”

DHA maintains that Emaar was trying to “clandestinely” sell Crescent Bay plots without its permission to “unauthorised parties.” The authority says it was “shocked” to learn through a letter on June 13, 2011 from CEO GMS Qureshi that his marketing company was working with Emaar Giga Karachi for the last 15 months to sell land that had been sub-let by DHA.

On June 25, 2011 DHA officers discovered GMS staff taking measurements and dimensions of the land, which the regulatory body believes was in clear violation of its agreement that mentions that no sale can move ahead unless DHA approves it. DHA immediately removed the GMS personnel from the site and took over possession of the land and the Crescent Bay project itself in “public interest”. It now wants to undertake construction of the two towers which, according to them, Emaar has abandoned.

Senior officials with DHA told The Express Tribune that it was extremely unfortunate that Emaar has not completed its commitments to the people, especially since there were huge expectations from them, given their expertise and long list of successful projects. Although DHA’s experience in mega construction projects is negligible compared to Emaar’s, it believes that with its experience of Creek Vista in Karachi, it can take off from where the international construction stopped....

Riaz Haq said...

ISLAMABAD: Emaar Properties PJSC, listed on the Dubai Financial Market, is a global property developer with a significant presence in key markets world-wide. Besides building residential and commercial properties, the company also has proven competences in shopping malls & retail, hospitality & leisure and financial services sectors.

Emaar Pakistan is operating two projects under its belt Canyon Views Islamabad and Crescent Bay Karachi. Canyon views Islamabad is a housing society, projecting beautifully constructed, luxurious villas based on Mediterranean designs. The community layout follows that of a village, with each village having a separate gate, parks and a community swimming pool. The community provides its customers with options of choosing from plots, mixed use commercial and apartment complexes to the sale of three different types of villas, Miradors, Prados and Almas. Canyon Views Islamabad provides its residents with a wholesome lifestyle experience complemented by serviced amenities and commercial buildings. Crescent Bay Karachi on the other hand, is a seafront wonder, entailing the construction of luxurious apartment towers along the bay of the city. It is planned to be a construction marvel for Pakistan and the world to see. The magnificence of Crescent Bay has already surfaced itself on Google Earth, making the project visible through satellite images. Emaar has gained worldwide repute for its quality under taking and innovative styles of buildings and lay outs. Taking Canyon Views forward, it is an exclusive gated community spread over 350 acres of land, accommodating over 3000 units. The community projects a mix of natural attractions combined with exceptional architecture and the finest leisure facilities. The project is serving as a benchmark in developing master-planned communities. Once completed, it shall be a commitment to our promise of providing landmark lifestyles and shall change the real estate scene in the country.

Riaz Haq said...

EMAAR: Crescent Bay, Karachi

DAWN.COM | EMAAR PAKISTAN PARTNERUpdated Sep 09, 2017 02:27pm

Crescent Bay, the seafront wonder of high-rise towers set along three crescent shaped bays, will soon become your one-stop-shop solution to life, work and play.

Offering a safe and vibrant community atmosphere, Crescent Bay will combine breathtaking natural beauty with a blend of traditional and contemporary architecture. Few would be able to resist the lure of this most sought after address in the metropolis.

Most images below are interactive and can be viewed in 360 degrees. Click and hold inside the frame to move around in the surroundings (press and swipe on mobile)

With a spectacular location in the DHA Phase-VIII Extension next to Dou Darya, Crescent Bay enjoys a beautiful two-kilometre seafront along the shores of the Arabian Sea. And the three curved coastal bays give Crescent Bay a unique character.

The apartment buildings in Crescent Bay will feature a designer-fitted kitchen, with a marble bench top and an imported stainless-steel sink with mixer tap.

The apartment buildings will feature one to four bedrooms per flat. Each bedroom will come with a fitted wardrobe.

Riaz Haq said...

How #Pakistani fund manager Arif Naqvi ‘robbed’ $100 million from Bill Gates. He distracted the West with massive #philanthropic grants, giving millions of dollars to major #universities, including Johns Hopkins University in the #UnitedStates. via @nypost

In April 2010, he was invited by President Barack Obama, along with 250 other Muslim business leaders, to a Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship. There, Naqvi gave a speech about the importance of impact investing and how a billion children would need training and jobs in the coming decades.

“It can only happen,” Naqvi told the gathering, “through entrepreneurship.”

Two months later, the US government invested $150 million in Abraaj.

Naqvi did put his money where his mouth was — to a point.

After taking control of his local electric company, Karachi Electric, in 2008, Naqvi made the electricity more reliable and the company profitable. But he also reduced the workforce by 6,000 employees, leading to riots.

Meanwhile, he distracted the West with massive charitable grants.

“Arif gave millions of dollars to universities around the world, including Johns Hopkins University in the United States, and the London School of Economics, which named a professorship after Abraaj,” the authors write. “Following in the footsteps of billionaire philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates, Arif started a $100 million charitable organization called the Aman Foundation to improve health care and education in Pakistan.”

But Naqvi also enjoyed the high life, flying around on “a private Gulfstream jet with a personalized tail number — M-ABRJ — and sailed on yachts to meet new investors who could help increase his fortune.”

By 2007, Naqvi had moved into “a palatial new mansion in Dubai’s luxurious, gated Emirates Hills district . . . known as the Beverly Hills of Dubai.”

He was a regular at Davos and similar conferences, where he became friendly with the likes of Gates, who was the guest of honor at a dinner at Naqvi’s home in 2012.

“Bill and Arif had much to discuss,” the authors write. “They agreed that their charitable foundations would work together on a family planning program in Pakistan. Arif seemed to be precisely who Bill was looking for. He was wealthy and concerned for the poor.”

Naqvi was granted a $100 million investment from the Gates Foundation to supposedly invest in hospitals and clinics in emerging markets. This investment, in the new Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund, helped Naqvi attract $900 million more from other investors.

“This is a significant co-investment partnership,” Gates said about the deal. “It is also an example of the kind of smart partnerships that hold huge promise for the future.”

In reality, Naqvi had already started misusing the money with a “secretive treasury department” that not even most of his employees knew about, the authors write.

“Abraaj was really made up of a tangled web of more than three hundred companies based mostly in tax havens around the world.”

Required by regulators to keep millions of dollars in a bank account for emergencies, the account was usually close to empty, the authors write.

“Just before the end of each quarter, when Abraaj Capital had to report to the regulator, Arif and his colleagues moved money into the account to make it seem like it contained the required amount. A few days [later], they emptied the account again.”