Egyptian investor to launch multibillion-dollar housing project in Pakistan

(Photo courtesy: project eighteen website)
Updated 07 March 2018
0

Egyptian investor to launch multibillion-dollar housing project in Pakistan

KARACHI: Egypt’s Ora Developers and its Pakistani partners plan to launch a multibillion-dollar luxury housing project on the outskirts of Islamabad next month, Senator Usman Saifullah Khan, vice chairman of the Saifullah Group, confirmed to Arab News on Wednesday.
Khan said that the same project would be replicated in Lahore and Karachi by the beginning of next year.
Owned by an Egyptian billionaire, Naguib Sawiris, Ora Developers is a major investor that holds up to 60 percent shares in the multibillion-dollar housing scheme that will soon become visible in the southwest of Islamabad. Success of the project is expected to attract more investment in Pakistan's housing sector.
“Project Eighteen,” a mixed-use development project that will cover 600 acres of land, is a joint venture between Naguib Sawiris, the Saif Group and Kohistan Builders. Commercial activity began earlier this year and the project will be delivered in phases, with delivery against the first phase expected in the next three years.
“Mr. Sawiris is one of the world’s leading investors who always took a very positive view of Pakistan’s investment potential," Khan said. "His first investment was in Mobilink, the country’s largest cellular operator. Mr. Sawiris’ firms have successfully delivered similar real estate projects in Egypt and around the Middle East, though this is his first venture in Pakistan’s real estate sector.”
According to data shared by the developers with Arab News, the project entails the construction of a five-star hotel of 150 rooms, 1,068 housing units, 921 residential apartments, business parks, hospitals, schools and other educational facilities and 13 office buildings. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $2 billion.
“Pakistan’s real estate sector presents a huge economic opportunity. Housing is a basic human need and there is a very large demand at all ends of the market,” Khan maintained.
“It is, however, important that this sector moves away from unproductive speculative activities towards more focused activity that actually meets customer needs and solves our housing problems. It is also important that banking policy is aligned with this so as to ensure that affordable mortgage financing is available to all income groups.”
The builders plan to hand over the constructed housing units and other facilities to local and foreign buyers in the next two to three years. “The management team, a mix of Egyptian and Pakistani experts, is here and they are working on the project to make it a success,” he said.
Khan added that Ora Developers and the Saif Group planned to introduce modern international ways of living to the people of Pakistan, claiming that this dream was gradually turning into reality.
Talking to Arab News, Chairman of the Association of Builders and Developers Arif Yousuf Jeewa said Pakistan faced a shortage of nearly 12 million housing units that may require a massive investment of $180 billion.
“Local and overseas Pakistanis are interested in investing in their country,” he said, “but what we need is infrastructure development.”


Oil prices gain on lower US crude inventories, Libyan output disruption

Updated 20 June 2018
0

Oil prices gain on lower US crude inventories, Libyan output disruption

SINGAPORE: Oil prices recovered some day-earlier losses in Asia on Wednesday, supported by a drop in US commercial crude inventories and the loss of storage capacity in oil producer Libya.
US crude inventories fell by 3 million barrels to 430.6 million barrels in the week to June 15, according to American Petroleum Institute (API) in a weekly report on Tuesday.
Brent crude futures rose 18 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $75.26 per barrel at 0351 GMT, compared with their last close on Tuesday.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $65.27.
Traders said a drop in Libyan supplies due to the collapse of an estimated 400,000-barrel storage tank also helped push up prices.
Looming larger over markets, however, is a June 22 meeting in Vienna of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with some other producers, including Russia, to discuss supply.
De-facto OPEC leader and top crude exporter Saudi Arabia, as well as Russia, which is not a member of the cartel but is the world’s biggest oil producer, are pushing to loosen supply controls introduced in 2017 to prop up prices.
Other OPEC-members, including Iran, are against such a move, fearing a sharp slump in prices.
“Saudi Arabia and Russia continued to push for a relaxation in production constraints, going against many other members’ wishes,” ANZ bank said on Wednesday.
“Iran rejected a potential compromise, saying it won’t support even a small increase in oil production. This puts Saudi Arabia in a tough position, as unanimity is needed for any accord to be reached,” it added.
Jack Allardyce, oil-and-gas research analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, said he had the “expectation that supply quotas will be increased, but probably more in line with the smaller range being quoted (300,000-600,000 barrels per day) given the lack of consensus among OPEC members.”
Allardyce said “we could see this knocking $5 per barrel off Brent and perhaps squeezing the WTI discount a little.”
Markets are also anxiously watching trade tensions between the United States and China, in which both sides have threatened to impose stiff duties on each other’s exports, including US crude oil.
A 25 percent tariff on US crude oil imports, as threatened by China in retaliation for duties Washington has announced but not yet implemented against Chinese products, would make American crude uncompetitive in China versus other supplies.
This would almost certainly lead to a sharp drop-off in Chinese purchases of US crude, which have boomed in the last two years to a business now worth around $1 billion per month.