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Wed 21 Feb 2007 04:17 PM

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Al-Futtaim launches $500m property fund

The UAE conglomerate's fund will focus on urban developments in the region.

The investment unit of United Arab Emirates conglomerate Al Futtaim Group has launched a $500 million real estate fund that will invest in urban developments in the region, it said on Wednesday.

The Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) will tap growing regional demand for liquid property investments, Managing Director of Al-Futtaim Capital Marwan Shehadeh said in a statement.

Al-Futtaim will invest $75 million in the fund, which is domiciled in the Dubai International Financial Centre, an investment zone in Dubai, the company said.

"There has been a growing appetite for the real estate asset class among regional institutional investors," Shehadeh said.

Morgan Stanley is advising the fund, which will invest in large-scale urban developments in regional cities including Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, Algiers and Cairo, Al-Futtaim said, without providing details.

The DIFC expects to be the domicile for REITS managing $10 billion in assets by 2011, Khalid Yousef, the DIFC's director of Islamic finance, said in September.

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