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Sun 16 May 2010 08:51 PM

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Bahrain planning buy out of stalled Sama Dubai resort

Construction on $545m beach resort and spa stopped in January of last year.

Bahrain planning buy out of stalled Sama Dubai resort
PROJECT BUYOUT: Bahrain wants to buy out Sama Dubais stalled project to build a luxury seashore resort in Manama. (Getty Images)

Bahrain wants to buy out Sama Dubai's stalled project to build a luxury seashore resort in its capital city Manama, a senior official said. Sama Dubai, a unit of Dubai Holding, began the $545 million Salam Beach Resort and Spa project in November 2005. Construction stopped in January last year, according to Middle East Economic Digest.

Bahraini investors are in talks with Sama Dubai, Mohammed Bin Essa al Khalifa, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said in an interview yesterday in Manama. Sama didn’t respond to a request for comment immediately.

Sama Dubai said May 5 it’s committed to projects in Morocco and Oman after officials from those countries said construction had stopped.

Sama pulled out of the $3 billion Amwaj development in Morocco and work was halted on the $1.7 billion Salam development in Oman, tourism ministry officials said May 3.

Dubai Holding, a company owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and its units owe banks $12 billion and have begun talks to roll over some of the loans, a person with knowledge of the matter said May 10.

Bahrain has seen real estate projects by companies from the UAE run into financing difficulties because of the property crash in Dubai, said al Khalifa.

He said: “The projects that have been affected are projects that are owned by people from the UAE, but we are working on buyouts to make sure they continue."

The beachfront Salam Beach Resort and Spa being built near the Bahrain Formula 1 Track planned to occupy 500,000 square meters (5.4 million square feet) and include a five star hotel and traditional market as well as a network of canals spanning five kilometers.

Sama, which merged with other Dubai Holding units Dubai Properties Group and Tatweer in August 2009, was hurt by defaults after the local property market crashed in the wake of the global credit crisis.

The government in December abandoned a plan to merge the companies with developer Emaar Properties.

Prior to the merger with Dubai Properties, Sama was the international property unit of Dubai Holding.