UAE, African and UK group wins $1b bid

DUBAI — A joint venture between Dubai World's wholly-owned investment company, Istithmar, London & Regional Properties, and a consortium of 12 South African investors known as Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), has won a $1 billion bid for the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (V&A) in Cape Town.

By Lucia Dore (Senior Correspondent)

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Published: Thu 21 Sep 2006, 9:07 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:23 PM

More than 60 South African and international companies took part in the bidding process and a shortlist of nine companies and consortia were evaluated in the final round.

Istithmar and London & Regional Properties, which has investments of about 6 billion euros in over seven countries, are equal partners in the venture with a 75 per cent interest. BEE holds the remaining 25 per cent.

Nakheel, one of Istithmar's subsidiary companies and a leading developer, will also play an active role in the project by helping to develop the masterplan for the Waterfront. London & Regional will manage the company's assets.

The V&A Waterfront is a mixed-use prime waterfront real estate development with seven hotels, residential and commercial premises. Established by the South African government Transnet in 1988, V&A Waterfront attracts more than 22 million visitors a year. It contains 603 square metres of approved bulk development rights, of which 45 per cent remains to be developed.

With South Africa hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2010 the timing of the acquisition and opportunities for development are immense. The V&A is only five minutes from the World Cup Stadium.

Chairman of the board of Istithmar and chairman of its parent company Dubai World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said: "We are involved in real estate development across the globe but there are few places which offer such potential as Cape Town's waterfront.

"It will be promoted and marketed alongside our iconic projects in Dubai such as the three Palm Islands, Dubai Waterfront and the World Islands."

"We believed that this added marketing strategy and expanded international exposure will drive up values at the Cape Town Waterfront," he added.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, CEO of Nakheel Hotels and Resorts, James Wilson, said: "We are looking at taking the development to the next level," and create an "African Riviera". Once the masterplan is finalised the project is expected to take between five and 10 years to complete. "The project is commercially viable and offers a good return," he said.

Wilson views the V&A project as an important one to facilitate tourist traffic between the Middle East and South Africa. "The tourist flow from the Middle East to South Africa is increasing by 70 per cent each year," he said, and with Emirates increasing the number of flights between the two regions the number is set to grow even further.

"It is the strategy of the South African government to strengthen the relationship between Dubai and the Middle East," he added.

He also denied that work on Palm Deira had stopped. "It is not true," he said.

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