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Wed 25 Apr 2007 09:41 PM

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Emaar plans Indonesia leisure project

Overseas expansion will pause after the multi-billion dollar development on Lombok island.

Emaar Properties, the largest Arab property developer by market value, said on Wednesday it plans to develop a multi-billion dollar leisure and residential project in Indonesia.

The project on the island of Lombok will be Emaar's last in a new country for some time as the part Dubai-government owned company focuses on its existing $100 billion of projects in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and 13 other countries, a spokesman for the company said.

The spokesman was confirming earlier comments by chairman Mohamed Alabbar reported in the Financial Times.

Emaar, which bought US homebuilder John Laing Homes in June for $1.05 billion, also plans to expand in the US through acquisitions, Alabbar also told the newspaper.

The company is also expanding outside Dubai with projects in Egypt and India.

"The last country [in this round of overseas expansion] I want to do is Indonesia," Alabbar was quoted as saying.

Emaar and its joint venture partner, the Indonesian government, could agree on the Lombok project as early as next month, Alabbar said.

The company also wants to expand its US operations into Arizona, Florida and Washington, Alabbar said.

"The time is right for acquisitions in the US. With the market slowing we might find some value there," he was quoted saying.

Emaar reported its slowest rate of profit growth in the first-quarter in at least two years as the US housing market cooled.

The Egyptian government is talking with Emaar about a large leisure development project on the Mediterranean coast, Egypt's tourism minister told Reuters earlier this month.

Emaar will also expand in Dubai, the source of 90% of its revenues, when it receives fresh land from the Dubai government under a deal giving government-owned Dubai Holding $7.6 billion of stock in exchange for land.

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