By Andy Sambidge
Khalid Bin Kalban sees 'huge opportunity'; says all indications suggest current growth is sustainable
The boss of Dubai Investments (DI), a diversified manufacturer and investor in property, believes the UAE's real estate market will continue to grow for at least another four years.
Khalid Bin Kalban, managing director and CEO of the investment firm whose property assets total more than AED8 billion ($2.17 billion), said: "The growth cycle in UAE's real estate market has just begun. Generally, the real estate is a five-year growth cycle... and we are just at the start of the first year.
"So we still have four years of growth ahead of us. All indications show that this growth is sustainable. Naturally, this offers us a huge opportunity."
His comments were made as DI announced that its subsidiaries across construction and related sectors were gearing up for expansion to take advantage of the current real estate boom across the UAE and GCC.
He added: "DI has over 18 manufacturing companies which are mainly focused on the production of building materials and related construction products, and they are geared to cater to this inherent demand.
With an estimated AED660 billion worth of projects under construction in the GCC, DI and its subsidiaries such as Glass LLC, Dubai Cranes, Emirates Building Systems, Gulf Dynamic Switchgear, Emirates Extrusion Factory, International Rubber Company, and Emirates Extruded Polystyrene, have augmented their production capacities to meet the escalating demand.
Glass LLC, which contributes nearly AED800 million per year to the group's revenue, has announced a major upgrade in its production facilities in anticipation of an expected 40 percent surge in demand for glass products in 2014
Saudi American Glass has announced a 50 percent increase in its production capacity while Emirates Building Systems is aggressively targeting the Saudi market, and establishing two new offices this year in Riyadh and Dammam.
Emirates Extrusion is also boosting its annual production to 6,000 metric tonnes through a new production line at its aluminium extrusion plant in Techno Park, Dubai while Gulf Dynamic Services and International Rubber Company have targeted strong year-on-year growth in 2014.
Kalban added that DI and its subsidiaries are also geared to handle the anticipated demand for Expo 2020 projects.
"We believe that 2015 onwards there will be a pick-up in the construction activity related to Expo as the planning stage has just commenced. We are well positioned for this. We have the real estate and the related industry ready to support this," he said.
Over 67 percent of DI's asset base is in real estate and is currently worth over AED8.38 billion. It also has one of the largest land banks across the UAE, totalling approximately 30 million square feet.
The company had earlier announced plans to unveil iconic projects across the UAE on its land banks in Meydan, Mirdif and Jumeirah Village Circle in Dubai, and also other developments in Fujairah and Sharjah.
Incorporated in 1995, Dubai Investments is listed on Dubai Financial Market with paid-up capital of AED3.5 billion.
Last month, DI said it plans to increase the limit on foreign ownership of its shares to 35 percent of its total capital.
The firm's shareholders, including sovereign fund Investment Corp of Dubai which has an 11.5 percent stake, will vote on the proposal at a meeting on April 15, the company said.