UAE property firm eyes MENA expansion by 2014

Real estate portal propertyfinder.ae says private investment secured for regional growth

(For illustrative purposes only).

(For illustrative purposes only).

Dubai-based property website propertyfiner.ae is planning to expand across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and is looking to acquire new joint partners after securing a new round of financing.

The real estate website, set up in 2005 by CEO Michael Lahyani to tap into the fast growing UAE property boom, had announced plans to set up operations in Egypt earlier this year, but is now targeting expansion into five new countries by early 2014.

While the company did not reveal the size of the new investment, the funding is the company’s first since 2009 and came from a pool of investors including BECO Capital, led by Danny Farha, the co-founder of Bayt.com.

In a statement, propertyfinder.ae announced that the new capital has three main objectives.

Firstly it would finance the next expansion phase of the company across MENA; secondly it would provide readily available capital to undertake acquisitions of related companies in target locations and establish joint-ventures in non-core markets; and thirdly to capitalise on the experience of selected private investors.

Lahyani said: “Our funding needs are quite limited, as we have a profitable UAE business that can finance a large part of our expansion plan. Most importantly, we prefer to partner with individual investors who we have known for many years. They share our long term vision and they bring, to a young company like ours, a strong investment experience acquired in the online industry worldwide.”

In the past three years propertyfinder.ae has reported 85 percent growth per year, and now employs more than 60 people in its four offices based in the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Lebanon.

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