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 near 4-year high as producers resist output rise to offset Iran sanctions

Updated 2 min 59 sec ago
0

Oil near 4-year high as producers resist output rise to offset Iran sanctions

  • The United States from November 4 will target Iran’s oil exports with sanctions
  • US President Donald Trump has demanded that OPEC and Russia increase their supplies to make up for the expected fall in Iranian exports

SINGAPORE: Oil prices on Tuesday were within reach of four-year highs hit in the previous session, as looming US sanctions against Iran and unwillingness by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to raise output supported the market.
Brent crude futures were at $81.45 per barrel at 0421 GMT, up 25 cents, or 0.3 percent, and close to the intraday peak touched the previous day at $81.48, the highest level since November 2014.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $72.27 a barrel, up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent from their last settlement.
The United States from Nov. 4 will target Iran’s oil exports with sanctions, and Washington is putting pressure on governments and companies around the world to fall in line and cut purchases from Tehran.
“Iran will lose sizeable export volumes, and given OPEC+ reluctance to raise output, the market is ill-equipped to fill the supply gap,” Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity markets strategy at French bank BNP Paribas, told the Reuters Global Oil Forum on Tuesday.
OPEC+ is the name given to the group of oil producers, including non-OPEC supplier Russia, that agreed to curtail output starting in 2017.
While Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and Iran on Tuesday said they were determined to develop payment mechanisms to continue trading despite the sanctions by the United States, most analysts expect Washington’s actions to knock between 1 million and 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil supplies out of markets.
“We view Brent’s rally above $80 per barrel as fundamentally justified,” said Fitch Solutions in a note.
US President Donald Trump has demanded that OPEC and Russia increase their supplies to make up for the expected fall in Iranian exports. Iran is the third-largest producer in OPEC.
OPEC and Russia, however, have so far rebuffed such calls.
“Any formal decision on oil output by the producer group, barring an extraordinary meeting, will only take place at the December meeting. Thus, the window period for oil prices to potentially extend gains is quite wide as Iran loses exports and OPEC+ remains on standby,” Tchilinguirian said.
Ashley Kelty, oil analyst at financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald said crude could soon hit $90 per barrel.
“We don’t believe OPEC can actually raise output significantly in the near term, as the physical spare capacity in the system is not that high,” Kelty said.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has lifted its average Brent price forecast for 2019 from $75 per barrel to $80, while it increased its WTI crude oil forecast by $2 to $71 per barrel.
The bank said “the Iran factor may dominate the market near-term and cause a (crude price) spike,” although it added that emerging market “demand concerns could reappear thereafter.”
Indian refiners — struggling from high crude feedstock prices and a sliding rupee — are planning to reduce oil imports in what could be a first sign that high prices are starting to hurt demand.
Despite the bullish sentiment, some traders said current prices already reflected the tighter market, and that more oil would be coming in 2019.
Commodity trading giant Vitol said on Tuesday that non-OPEC producers, especially the United States, may insert up to 2 million bpd of new crude into the market in 2019.
To reflect rising US oil exports, CME Group Inc. said on Monday it will launch a WTI Houston crude futures contract in the fourth quarter.
CME’s announcement comes after rival Intercontinental Exchange said in July it would offer a Houston crude futures contract.