Property Finder looks to Saudi Arabia and Egypt after $120m fundraising

Dubai and Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, in downtown Dubai. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2018
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Property Finder looks to Saudi Arabia and Egypt after $120m fundraising

  • Real estate listing site eyes new markets
  • Property Finder originally established in 2007

LONDON: Property Finder, the online real estate business based in the UAE, has raised a further $120 million of funding as it targets growth in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The fund raising — described by chief executive and founder Michael Lahyani as “a major milestone” — was led by General Atlantic, the New York based investor with $28 billion of assets, which will become a new equity holder in Property Finder, alongside existing backer Vostok New ventures.
The proceeds will be used to fund technology innovation at the firm, in an effort to provide more transparency in the regional property market, and also to expand its operations into big markets like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where Lahyani sees potential.
Property Finder has been in the Kingdom for four years, with a workforce of around 40 people, and is now seeking to expand beyond its Riyadh headquarters to Jeddah and Eastern Province.
“The market is very exciting in Saudi. The real estate agents there are starting to come online, to advertise digitally. It has a large population, the biggest in the GCC by far, and it’s a market where we want to have a presence,” Lahyani said.
“Egypt is a fast growing market for us. A lot of real estate development is happening, they are building an entire new city outside Cairo and the country has more political and economic stability,” he added.
Property Finder has become a leading online real estate market place in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey since it was set up in 2007.
In its most recent report on the UAE market, the firm said that supply would continue to grow in real estate, with a total of around 68,000 new residential units expected to be completed this year and in 2019. Some experts have blamed oversupply for the market slump.
Lahyani said: “Even if the word is that prices are down and there is oversupply, it does not make it a bad market. Those that are buying now are doing good deals. We don’t see it as distinctly negative.
“The fact that prices are coming down is not a negative thing for Dubai. This is a city that’s looking at growing and attracting more people. The city had become more expensive for quite a few people and the biggest part of that expense is usually your rent or your mortgage. If you can lower that segment of your expense you can attract more people, so we are heading in the right direction in that sense,” he added.
He said that from his perspective there had not yet been any noticeable effect from the prospect of the Expo 2020 business fair, which some have forecast will result in an economic boost for the UAE and a pickup in property demand.


Iran falls to sixth biggest oil supplier to India as sanctions bite

Updated 14 December 2018
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Iran falls to sixth biggest oil supplier to India as sanctions bite

  • Tehran dropped two places to become only the sixth biggest supplier after New Delhi cut purchases due to the impact of US sanctions
  • The UAE, which was the sixth biggest oil seller to India in October, became the third-top seller to India in November

NEW DELHI: India’s monthly oil imports from Iran plunged to their lowest in a year in November with Tehran dropping two places to become only the sixth biggest supplier after New Delhi cut purchases due to the impact of US sanctions, according to ship tracking data and industry sources.
Last month, the US introduced tough sanctions aimed at crippling Iran’s oil revenue-dependent economy. Washington did, though, give a six-month waiver from sanctions to eight nations, including India, and allowed them to import some Iranian oil.
India is restricted to buying 1.25 million tons per month, or about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd).
In November, India imported about 276,000 bpd of Iranian oil, a decline of about 41 percent from October and about 4 percent more than the year-ago month, ship tracking data obtained from shipping and trade sources showed.
After abandoning the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump is trying to force Tehran to quash not only its nuclear ambitions and its ballistic missile program but its support for militant proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.
India’s imports from Iran in November, included some parcels that were loaded in October. In November, Iraq and Saudi Arabia continued to be the top-two oil sellers to India.
The UAE, which was the sixth biggest oil seller to India in October, became the third-top seller to India in November, knocking down Venezuela to fourth position.