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Thu 4 Nov 2010 05:41 PM

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Dubai’s Al Futtaim sees rebound in sales; may tap debt markets

UAE-based family-owned corporation sees rebound led by automotive and retail businesses

Dubai’s Al Futtaim sees rebound in sales; may tap debt markets
Al Futtaim has spent more than $2bn to build Dubai’s Festival City, which includes hotels, offices, homes, retail outlets and a golf course (ITP Images)

Al Futtaim Group, a UAE-based family-owned corporation operating through 65 companies, is seeing a rebound in sales this year and may tap debt markets, the group’s director of finance said.

"Our core trading activity is up double-digit year-to- date," John Wartig, said in an interview on Wednesday in Dubai. "Part of the reason is that it’s coming back from a very low base." He expects growth to slow but remain above the country’s economic growth.

The Al Futtaim’s interests include automotive, retail and real estate. The company has spent more than $2bn to build Dubai’s Festival City, which includes hotels, offices, homes, retail outlets and a golf course.

The rebound is led by the automotive and retail businesses, Wartig said.

The International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for economic growth for the UAE this year to 2.4 percent from 1.3 percent. In 2011, growth is projected to accelerate to 3.2 percent, the IMF said in an October 24 report.

Economic growth slowed as real estate prices in Dubai tumbled from their peak in August 2008 and Dubai World sought creditor approval to restructure $24.9bn in debt.

Al Futtaim may seek a credit rating and may tap the debt markets, Wartig said.

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