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      Criminal Complaint filed in Germany against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum CEO of Dubai Developer Al Fajer Properties The Dubai Sheikh who mislead and extort a German Couple  Germany – Dubai 2011 A German elderly couple , today 80 + 50 years old who have been Dubai Tourists since a decade, bought in 2005 an apartment at Nakheel´s Dubai Residen […]
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      source Human Rights Watch www.hrw.org (Beirut) - The United Arab Emirates attorney general should immediately drop all charges against five pro-democracy activists to halt their trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges of "humiliating" top officials relate solely to the defendants' peaceful use of speech to criticize the UAE governmen […]
    • Nakheel Dubai Sunland Case
      June 5, 2011After 21 hearings, Chris O'Donnell, the Australian chief executive of Dubai's major developer, Nakheel, came to the defence of his former colleagues Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee. Mr Joyce and Mr Lee are accused of profiting from the sale of land that had been earmarked for a colossal high-rise development, which was to include the futur […]
    • Dubai Nakheel CEO decided to leave the company
      Dubai June 7, 2011 Nakheel said on Wednesday that its CEO Chris O'Donnell had left the company "after completing his contract terms". O'Donnell, an Australian who joined the developer in 2006, said he had decided to leave Nakheel following five years spent with the company, the statement added. O'Donnell has overseen a traumatic time […]
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      Dubai property developer Damac said on Tuesday it had filed an international arbitration case against Egypt over a land dispute and the conviction of its chairman and owner, Hussain Sajwani.A Cairo court last week sentenced Sajwani in his absence to jail and ordered him to pay a $40.5 million fine in connection with his 2006 purchase of land at Egypt's […]
    • Dubai Palm Jumeriah - Investors plan to take legal action
      Investors in Dubai Palm Jumeirah’s Golden Mile complex will this week serve the developer behind the project with a legal ultimatum to hand over their units or issue them with a refund.Up to ten investors in the luxury complex plan to issue Souq Residences with legal notice in a bid to force a resolution to a dispute that has been ongoing for more than a yea […]
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Archive for October 9th, 2008

Dubai property on red alert

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


Dubai property on red alert: “Dubai property on red alert”

The Dubai government likes to use the annual Cityscape real estate exhibition to build confidence in the emirate and build interest in its property market. Massive schemes are announced and ever-more ambitious plans are hatched.

But this year’s exhibition has come amid falling local stock markets – Saudi Arabia fell 10 per cent on Monday – and growing concerns that the international financial crisis will bring about a correction to what is widely viewed as a frothy market.

True to form, NakheelNakheel, which is owned by the government of Dubai, at the weekend launched a Dh140bn ($38bn) project to build the world’s tallest tower and inland harbour. On Monday another government company, Meraas Development, said it would redevelop a swath of the city over 12 years in a Dh350bn project to be called Jumeira Gardens. The intention is that this scheme too should include another of the world’s tallest towers and reclaimed islands off the coast.

“Dubai has always reinvented itself and maintained growth,” Sina al Kazim, chief executive of Meraas, said.

Whereas in years gone by retail investors have tried to gain access to what is supposed to be a business to business event, this year the organisers had no trouble in keeping the public out.

One locally-based real estate broker admitted that there was “a good deal of nervousness” among exhibitors as to whether Dubai’s growth story of the past six years was coming to an end.

Dubai is the most exposed of the local economies because its local real estate market is supported by foreign investment and because, as an emirate, it has little in the way of natural resources. A home-grown credit squeeze caused by excess lending and insufficient deposit taking has added to the disquiet.

On Monday, as the real estate announcements came, property stocks led falls in the UAE’s two main stock markets. EmaarEmaar, Dubai’s main developer, fell 10.7 per cent, while TamweelTamweel, a mortgage lender that is to be merged with AmlakAmlak, was down 10.5 per cent. In Abu Dhabi, AldarAldar, the emirate’s leading developer, fell more than 9 per cent.

One banker described the situation as “belated panic”.

Credit default spreads on Dubai debt, especially real estate linked borrowing, have ballooned as institutions bet that the pace of growth in the property market will not be maintained.

But Dubai developers sought to assuage concerns.

Mr Kazim said he had a positive reaction in initial talks with local institutions about funding his development, which has caused controversy as it is forcing out local families and expatriate labourers from villas in Satwa and Jumeirah, some of the most established parts of the fast changing city.

Dubai Properties, a developer owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Dubai ruler, also said publicly that its credit lines were secure. Jade al Khalil, marketing manager, said he believed confidence in the Dubai market could be sustained.

TamweelTamweel, the troubled Islamic mortgage lender that has been at the centre of corruption investigations, which have done so much to harm Dubai’s reputation, said that it was joining other lenders in raising the deposit that investors must put down in order to secure financing.

Analysts said that the government linked property developers are fundamentally sound and will be backed by state funds if they get into trouble. They added that UAE authorities could intervene if they felt the market was in danger of crashing.

Some economists predicted a controlled slowing down rather than a sharp correction, which would be healthy given the steep increase in prices this year, as well as speculative trading.

“I don’t think it’s going to jeopardise or derail the economy,” Marios Maratheftis, head of research at Standard Chartered, said.

“I think we could have a couple of years of slow growth, a couple of years of underperforming markets as well, but I don’t think it will derail what will happen here in the future,” he said. “Having a mild correction will probably be beneficial for the economy and if the market is going to price in some risk in the decision making, especially in real estate, that will be beneficial.”

Others, however, were anticipating a sharper correction and greater consolidation in the real estatesector.

“I think that some kind of sharp correction has to happen because of the way prices have gone up and the fact that global credit conditions are very tight. The big issue is how fast the recovery comes,” said another banker, who asked not to be named. “The stock markets are a barometer of the real estate market – it’s telling you investors are very concerned right now.”

He said that there would have to be consolidation because “some of the more aggressive developers don’t have the cash flow to build what they have sold”.

Another banker said real estate companies in the UAE have been seeking advice from banks about potential merger and acquisitions.

By Simeon Kerr in Dubai and Andrew England in Abu Dhabi

© Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2008. Privacy policy.

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Consolidation on the cards – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


Consolidation on the cards – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com: “Consolidation on the cards”

Thursday, 09 October 2008 by Andrew White
original published Arabina Business

There was an air of unreality at last week’s Cityscape event. No change there, you might think — we have long got used to the fantastical models of contorted towers, billion-dollar figures tossed around like confetti, and outlandish announcements in which every project is declared ‘unique’ and ‘iconic’.

Yet while everybody was busy looking at the sky, craning their necks upward to the tip of Nakheel’s new mega-tower, the markets on which the Gulf’s economic foundations are set were dropping through the floor.

Over the course of a week intended to celebrate the strength of the Gulf real estate market and reassure investors spooked by the collapse of housing markets in the US and Europe, hundreds of millions of dollars was instead wiped off the market capitalisations of the region’s property players.

By the end of trading on Wednesday, shares in Emaar, the Middle East’s largest real estate company by market capitalisation, had dropped 29 percent so far that week, and 63 percent year-to-date.

In Saudi Arabia, Dar Al Arkan Real Estate was down 23 percent that week and 50 percent year-to-date, while Qatar’s Ezdan Real Estate finished down 56 percent from its early May high.

The Gulf’s five biggest publicly-traded real estate firms were down an average of 40 percent in 2008, and Cityscape week — the supposed highlight of the Gulf real estate calendar — ended up as one of the bloodiest on record.

It was reported last week that some of the scale models used at shows such as Cityscape cost real estate clients as much at $272,000 a pop.
As the markets continued to tank, the suspicion dawned that some of those scale models might actually represent a better long term investment than the towers they are meant to symbolise.

Looking forward, we may be on the cusp of a new wave of consolidation in the Gulf property market. In any other region, the Gulf’s real estate giants would be prime targets for a takeover, yet the Gulf’s strict foreign ownership rules eliminate that possibility.

Rumours of a merger between two of the UAE’s largest real estate developers surfaced last Monday and have not died away despite noncommittal shrugs from the two parties. And nor will they as long as the Gulf’s real estate titans continue to shed weight so dramatically.

In these uncertain times, investors are looking for a clear sign that such a critical sector is able to adapt to the shifting global economic climate. Even Gulf developers will be unable to reach for the sky, without first planting their feet firmly on the ground.

Andrew White is the deputy editor of Arabian Business English.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Consolidation on the cards – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Bacteria Fears Force Part of Jumeirah Beach Closure

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


Khaleejtimes , October 7, 2008

read more here:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=/data/theuae/2008/October/theuae_October152.xml&section=theuae

and Gulf News
http://archive.gulfnews.com/opinion/editorial_opinion/nation/10247978.html

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Bacteria Fears Force Part of Jumeirah Beach Closure

Interest rate cuts too late for regional markets – The National Newspaper

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


Interest rate cuts too late for regional markets – The National Newspaper

Andrew Foxwell

Last Updated: October 08. 2008 7:17PM UAE / GMT Six central banks around the world – including the US Federal Reserve, The European Central Bank, and the Bank of England – cut interest rates by half a percentage point today in a bid to halt sliding stock markets. China’s Central Bank followed suit, cutting its rate by 27 basis points. The other central banks to act were Sweden’s, Switzerland’s and Canada’s.

Shares rallied on the news, although the move came too late to save Gulf markets, which were closed prior to the cuts, with the Dubai Financial Market down 8.43 per cent and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange down 6.43 per cent. The Saudi Tadawul lost 6.12 per cent today, while Kuwait was down 1.41 per cent, Doha down 8.75 per cent, Muscat down 7.21 per cent and Nahrain falling 2.70 per cent.

The move has had a positive effect on other stock markets, however, with the British, French and German markets all recovering after their large earlier losses.

The Central Bank of the UAE will cut interest rates in line with the Fed’s decision because the dirham is pegged to the dollar, leaving the rate in both countries at 1.5 per cent.

Despite the move, one economist in the country said the move will have little effect, calling it an “aspirin and not a panacea” when much more radical action is needed.

afoxwell@thenational.ae

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Banks cut mortgage lending limit by up to 25% – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


Banks cut mortgage lending limit by up to 25% – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

by Amy Glass , Arabian Business, October, 08, 2008

UAE banks and home finance firms have cut their loan to value ratios by as much as 25 percent as the global credit crunch continues to tighten its grip on regional markets.

Tamweel and Amlak, the biggest Islamic mortgage lenders in the UAE, have both dropped their loan to value ratio in the last two weeks. Tamweel has lowered its maximum amount from 90 to 75 percent while rival Amlak has dropped its loan to value ratio from 90 to 65 percent.

“The base case has always been between 70-80 percent and anything in the 90 percent range was on a promotional basis, we have now stopped the promotion,” Nabil Alwan, head of marketing & product development at Tamweel told Arabian Business.

The deepening global credit crisis has forced governments to bail out banks as liquidity dries up. Last week the US approved a $700bn plan to prop up its financial institutions while the UK today announced that its own banks would get an $87bn lifeline. Last month the UAE central bank pumped $13.6bn into the UAE banking system in a bid to ease the impact of the liquidity crunch.

Lenders are lowering mortgage rates as credit tightens and home price growth slows.

In September HSBC Middle East lowered its loan to value ratio from 80 to 70 percent. Lloyds TSB, which currently lends a maximum of 80 percent against villas and 70 percent against apartments, is also expected to lower its rates next week, according to one of its mortgage advisors.

Emirates NBD, the Gulf’s largest lender by assets, on Wednesday announced it would offer fewer large loans and long-term repayment schemes in a campaign to encourage responsible lending after the global credit crunch.

“Large loan amounts and long repayment periods that can place a considerable strain on the borrower will be minimized through this process,” the bank said in a statement on its website.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Banks cut mortgage lending limit by up to 25% – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

UAE commercial property market slowdown – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


UAE commercial property market slowdown – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Wednesday, 08 October 2008

Commercial real estate markets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi witnessed a slight slowdown during the third quarter, with trading in August and September relatively flat, realtor Better Homes said in a report on Wednesday.

Better Homes put the lack of activity in the markets down to a seasonal slowdown and the Dubai government’s ongoing corruption probe, which it said had “tainted a negative picture on the real estate market”.

Better Homes said sales had also been affected by a new mortgage law that had made it harder to obtain finance and restrictions on immediate resale of properties by certain developers, which was “starting to push the speculative investors out of the market”, it said.

Demand for office space in Dubai outpaced Abu Dhabi during the quarter – especially in areas such as Meydan, Jumeirah Lake Towers and Dubai Waterfront – but Dubai was starting to show signs of distress among short-term investors, Better Homes said.

It pointed to an example of a commercial building in Nakheel’s Dubai Waterfront development being sold for a negative premium and warned of these sales were likely “as global markets squeeze liquidity and local banks reign in access to debt finance”.

In Abu Dhabi, Better Homes said the sharp increase in office rates during the second quarter post Cityscape Abu Dhabi did not continue into Q3 and prices were mainly flat for the quarter.

It said demand had shifted from Al Reem Island to Al Raha Beach, where premiums offer more upside potential.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on UAE commercial property market slowdown – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

UAE warned over banks’ real estate exposure – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


original published Arabian Business Octobe 08. 2008

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/533552-uae-warned-over-banks-real-estate-exposure

Morgan Stanley on Wednesday cautioned UAE lenders over their exposure to the real estate sector and said the central bank may have to reconsider allowing lenders to set up real estate subsidiaries.

As the real estate market in the UAE matures over the next two years “it may be necessary to evaluate the extent of the banks’ exposure to this sector”, the US bank said in a report on the UAE economy.

“The supervisory authorities may need to rethink the current rules governing the exposure of banks to the real estate sector,” it also said.

Morgan Stanley said the central bank may have to reconsider “the merits of the March 2007 Central Bank resolution that allowed UAE banks to establish real estate subsidiaries”, and establish “clear guidelines for the classification of loans exposed to the real estate sector”.

Morgan Stanley said this might be necessary because of the difficulty in assessing banks’ claims on quasi-public companies that are heavily involved in the real estate market “given the lack of transparency on the magnitude of this exposure”.

However, it stressed the potential risks to banks from a mild correction in the real estate sector should not be overstated.

Morgan Stanley said much of the concern in the market about the affect of a correction in the real estate sector could be put to rest “through the provision of more timely, consistent and comprehensive data on the monetary and banking sector”.

“…the need for greater market transparency on the part of market participants and regulators cannot be overemphasised at a time of considerable uncertainty in global financial markets,” it said.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on UAE warned over banks’ real estate exposure – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

Industry corruption – Construction & Industry – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


ArabianBusiness
Wednesday, 08 October 2008

Recently in the UAE there have been several reports in the media of senior personnel in a number of companies who are being investigated for corruption or worse.No doubt this being part of the government’s continuing initiative and resolve to fight corruption and punish those that are guilty of it.

The World Bank has estimated that bribery costs the world approximately US $1 trillion each year. Such a sum can only adversely affect the economic growth of developing countries, which can ill afford such cost.

The Emirate of Dubai has set up the Dubai Ethics Centre in order to train employees to be able to guard against and be aware of all forms of corruption. On a Federal basis, the UAE in 2006 signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

Moreover, the UAE has continued to support the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its initiative to combat corruption and in April 2007 announced that the UAE was joining forces with the OECD to strengthen tax co-operation between the countries of the Middle East and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and between those countries and the OECD countries.

It is therefore not surprising that with these actions and initiatives the World Bank reported in July 2007 that the UAE scored 83.5% in its World Wide Government Indicators, the highest score not only in the GCC countries but also within MENA.

Corruption might be defined as “one party providing inducements to another party to get them to do, or refrain from doing, some act differently from what they would otherwise have done.”In the construction and engineering industry this does not have to be the type or magnitude of corruption which grabs headlines but could be far more modest yet still effective and worse, still corruption. Examples of these could be putting someone on a bid list who might otherwise have not been included. Leaving someone off a bid list who in other circumstances should properly have been included.

Providing details with budgets, which to potential bidders can be information that is invaluable in the bidding process as well as during the negotiation stage. Giving price details of other bidders, giving an obvious unfair advantage to the recipient and making a nonsense of the bidding process.Frequently contracts are awarded on a lowest price basis, but even if they are not, the bid which is lower than those of other bidders will give the bidder an advantage over the others.One area in the construction and engineering industry that features high on the list of likely areas of corruption is the awarding of contracts. It does not have to be a major contract, it could be any contract including a supply contract or services contract, and of any value.The acceptance of a requested variation or claim can for a contractor or supplier make the difference between loss and profit, and sometimes considerable profit if accepted.Corruption does not necessarily flow from the contractor or supplier it could also be directed against the consultant in order that the consultant rejects the request for variation or claims, in which case the contractor or supplier loses but the employer gains.

Nine actions to avoid corruption and enhance good business practice

1. Always investigate complaints. If an allegation of corruption is made do not dismiss it, no matter how unlikely it may appear.

2. Require tenders to be prepared with separate commercial and technical submissions. This ensures that at the outset at least, different persons within the organisation review the submissions.

3. Open tenders together. If it is a public opening ensure that all persons who wish to attend are able to attend, including some without any interest in the outcome. Where it is a private opening then ensure that it is carried out with witnesses who can attest to the correctness of the bid opening procedure.

4. Rotate bid teams. The changing of personnel within the bid review teams is good practice in any event, especially where there are tenders for specific scopes, which may require specialist input.

5. Control entertainment and gifts. Many companies have strict policies as to what can be spent under the heading of “business development”. Moreover, the acceptance of a gift no matter how innocent can be misinterpreted. If no such policies exist then ensure that approval is sought before incurring the cost of entertainment or accepting the gift.

6. Require conflict of interest declarations. Indeed require such declarations to be in writing and signed by all those who are involved in the bid review process.

7. Control contact with bidders. Contact should not be encouraged; it should where possible be limited to communications in writing and when questions are asked by bidders, the answers should be circulated to all bidders. Care should also be taken not to discuss with bidders the subject matter of the bid, particularly where there is already an existing contractual relationship with the bidder on another contract or project.

8. Secure data. Always ensure that information that might be commercially sensitive is kept secure, to avoid it being made accessible to others who are not entitled to see or have access to it. 9. Audit trail on decisions. Whether in a bidding process or other part of a project development or construction where decisions are made, ensure that the decisions made are recorded in writing and where approvals are sought, the person giving such approvals also records the approval in writing.Dennis Brand is senior legal advisor with HBJ Gateley Wareing.

Email:Dbrand@hbj-gw.com

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Industry corruption – Construction & Industry – ArabianBusiness.com

 
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