Damac sets sights on US, Europe

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Damac sets sights on US, Europe

Published: Fri 15 Sep 2017, 1:52 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 Nov 2017, 1:50 PM

Damac Properties has Dh60 billion worth of projects under different phases of development and is eyeing international expansion as part of its growth strategy with focus on North America and European markets, says a senior official.
Niall McLoughlin, senior vice-president for corporate communication and marketing at Damac, said international expansion is key to the developer's growth.
"Our chairman just returned from a fact-finding mission from the US meeting executives and to discuss opportunities. We visited Toronto, Croatia, Malta, Montenegro and Spain looking at right land as we have Dh9 billion of cash on our balance sheet, Dh7.5 in escrow and Dh1.5 billion corporate cash - so we do have funds for the international expansion. In addition, we also look to do second project in London."
Damac is developing a 50-storye Aykon London One in coordination with Versace. The developer was also awarded a $1 billion contract by Omani government for joint development of Mina Sultan Qaboos Port for a mixed-use development including hotels, residences, as well as dining and leisure facilities. It's the first master development for Damac outside the UAE.
The group, which will deliver over 2,700 units during 2017, delivered 1,100 during the first-half of this year and the remainder 1,600 will be delivered in the second-half. While 1,137 villas were handed over in the first half.
"We are confident that we'll hit the 2017 guidance, which will take the total units delivered so far to 20,000," McLoughlin added.
"We have Dh60 billion worth of projects in different phases of development, planning and construction across the whole portfolio. We have land bank of 59 million square feet and 44,000 units in the pipeline stage with a completion target of over the next five years; We are targetting top-end of every category, offering niche products for each segment with prices ranging from Dh550,000 and up to Dh10 million," McLoughlin said during the interview at the Cityscape.
Commenting on the challenges of the local market, McLoughlin expressed concern about the "attractive" payment plans being offered by the local developers.
"Locally, we are concerned about the trend of payment plan with developers offering 10 per cent on booking and 90 per cent after nine years of handover. If the construction cost of the project is 60 per cent and the developer is collecting only 10 per cent so how he is going to manage it. Bigger developers might be able to manage it with strong cash on their balance sheet but how the smaller developers are going to manage? Payment plans are going very diverse in the city," he added.
- waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com

By Waheed Abbas

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