Dubai mall plans $273m expansion

Updated 10 September 2013
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Dubai mall plans $273m expansion

DUBAI: Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) will spend about one billion dirhams ($272.3 million) expanding one of the emirate's largest malls, which houses an indoor ski slope, in a further sign of a revival in its retail and tourism market.
Dubai is seen as a safe haven amid regional unrest that began with the Arab Spring in 2010, helping the emirate attract more visitors to its luxury shopping malls.
Dubai attracted 5.5 million tourists in the first half of 2013, a 11.1 percent increase on the year, the emirate's tourism department said in July. Its airport aims to overtake London's Heathrow as the world's biggest airport by passengers by 2020.
Mall of the Emirates will be redeveloped to include a new fashion district, luxury retail, and sports and leisure precinct, MAF, the operators of Carrefour stores in the Middle East, said in a statement.
The mall is one of the key attractions in Dubai as it houses the only indoor ski resort in the region.
It was the largest indoor ski park in the world when it was launched in 2005 and was promoted as an attraction for tourists and residents during the hot summer months in the Gulf state.
Phase one of the expansion has already begun, which is a new 100-million-dirham district dedicated to contemporary fashion, the statement said.
The mall was last expanded in 2010 to include more fashion outlets.
MAF has been on an aggressive expansion drive and bought the remaining 25 percent from Carrefour in its a Middle East joint venture in May.
The company plans to raise a $1.5 billion loan to refinance its debt, sources said last week.
Earlier this year Dubai Mall, the world largest mall owned by property developer Emaar Properties, announced plans to expand the mall by another 1 million square feet in the first phase.


Saudi stocks receive landmark emerging markets upgrade from MSCI

Updated 21 June 2018
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Saudi stocks receive landmark emerging markets upgrade from MSCI

  • Market authorities in Saudi Arabia have introduced a series of reforms in the past 18 months
  • MSCI’s Emerging Market index is tracked by about $2 trillion in active and global funds

LONDON: Saudi Arabian equites are poised to attract up to $40 billion worth of foreign inflows, following a landmark decision by index provider MSCI to include the Kingdom’s stocks in its widely tracked Emerging Markets index.

"MSCI will include the MSCI Saudi Arabia Index in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, representing on a pro forma basis a weight of approximately 2.6% of the index with 32 securities, following a two-step inclusion process," the MSCI said in a statement late on Wednesday night Riyadh time.

“Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in MSCI’s EM Index is a milestone achievement and will likely bring with it significant levels of foreign investment,” Salah Shamma, head of investment for MENA at Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity, told Arab News. 

“It is a recognition of the progress Saudi Arabia has made in implementing its ambitious capital markets transformation agenda. The halo effect of such a move will be felt across the stock exchanges of the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).”

Market authorities in Saudi Arabia have introduced a series of reforms in the past 18 months to bring local capital markets more in line with international norms, including lower restrictions on international investors, and the introduction of short-selling and T+2 settlement cycles.

Such reforms prompted index provider FTSE Russell to upgrade the Kingdom to emerging market status in March, opening the country’s stocks up to billions worth of passive and active inflows from foreign investors.

MSCI’s Emerging Market index is tracked by about $2 trillion in active and global funds. The inclusion of Saudi stocks in the index, alongside FTSE Russell’s upgrade, is forecast to attract as much as $45 billion of foreign inflows from passive and active investors, according to estimates from Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes. 

The upgrade announcement was widely expected by the region’s investment community, following a similar emerging markets upgrade announcement by fellow index provider FTSE Russell in March. 

“MSCI index inclusion will be a historic milestone for the Saudi market as it will allow for sticky institutional money to make an entry in 2019 which will help deepen the market,” said John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center in Riyadh.