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Tue 7 Jul 2009 02:20 PM

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Al Futtaim eyes $350m MENA opportunities

Investment firm's MD says money still to be deployed due to lack of confidence in market.

Investment company Al Futtaim Capital said on Tuesday it has around $350m to deploy in the MENA region from its fund launched over two years ago.

Last May Al-Futtaim said it had raised $500m from mainly Asian and Gulf investors for its Al Futtaim MENA Real Estate Development Fund to focus on large scale urban mixed-use developments in the Middle East and North Africa.

Al-Futtaim Capital managing director Marwan Shehadeh said that two thirds of the fund is still "uncommitted" due to lack of confidence in the market.

“Two thirds of fund is still uncommitted. We are looking at many opportunities here [in the GCC] and outside. We are reluctant to make an investment decision because there is a lot of uncertainty around,” he said on Tuesday.

He said the fund would look to invest in up to six real estate projects in the region. It has so far invested in the $9bn Festival City in Cairo, a commercial and residential project, and plans to develop a $2bn project in Morocco, on which it is currently carrying out due diligence.

Al-Futtaim Capital is in the final stages of acquiring a seven million sq m plot in Bouznika on the Moroccan Atlantic coast, where up to 42,000 residential units will be built. It plans to launch the project next year and is in talks with a number of Moroccan sub-developers.

Al-Futtaim said it would look to invest in Qatar, Libya and Abu Dhabi and was particularly interested in developing and investing in shopping malls in the MENA region.

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