Qatar's UDC plans $3bn projects
Doha, November 11, 2009
United Development Co (UDC), which built a pearl-shaped island in Qatar, expects fourth-quarter profit to be 'at least as good' as the third and is in talks on projects worth up to $3 billion.
UDC president Khalil Sholy told Reuters the conglomerate -- the main developer on the estimated $20 billion man-made island -- expects its fourth quarter to be driven partly by payments for housing units on the island and income from subsidiaries.
Qatar, the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, has been less affected by the global financial crisis than Gulf neighbours as its economy continues to grow on the back of revenues from oil and gas projects.
Sholy said he was 'optimistic' about the fourth quarter. 'We think it's going to be at least as good (as third quarter).'
UDC posted a third-quarter profit of 79.8 million riyals ($22 million), according to Thomson Reuters data.
Qatar property prices dropped by about 30 percent in the first half of the year. But the economy could grow 7 percent in its 2009-10 fiscal year and 16 percent the following year, the country's ruler said on November 3.
Sholy said there was still a shortage in supply in the country as it has not been 'overbuilt'.
UDC's real estate unit, The Pearl, is the conglomerate's first foray into property investment. The Pearl has said that 65 percent of the project, which covers 4 million sq m, has been put on the market with 90 percent of that sold.
Foreign investors have bought the majority of apartment units, Sholy said, adding the remaining 35 percent of the project would go on the market over the next 18 months.
The Pearl project -- one of several mammoth infrastructure projects in the Gulf region including Dubai's palm-shaped islands -- creates over 32 km of new coastline and is slated to have more than 40,000 residents by 2011. - Reuters
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