EXCLUSIVE: 'No chance I will do a hit and run' – ACI boss

German developer hits back over allegations regarding investors' cash, delayed projects.
EXCLUSIVE: 'No chance I will do a hit and run' – ACI boss
HITTING BACK: ACI Real Estates managing director Robin Lohmann. (ITP Images)
By Anil Bhoyrul and Alex Delmar-Morgan
Sun 12 Jul 2009 09:05 AM

ACI Real Estate chief Robin Lohmann has vowed there is “no chance I will do a hit and run,” following allegations over investors’ cash.

The German developer, in an interview with Arabian Business published on Sunday, added: “You know why? Because I haven’t even collected the money I have invested and spent here. I’m not going ahead and losing AED500m ($136.1m), it’s not the way.”

Managing director Lohmann has faced a storm of criticism in recent weeks over delays to his sports branded towers, and also payments that were due to investors in March.

However, citing the lack of finance to develop projects that he had already sold, he said investors would have to be more patient.

“What investors don’t understand is that I have not sold anything for the last seven months. Listen, if you bought Emaar stock for AED 20 and it went to AED 2, you don’t go to Mohammed Alabbar and say ‘I want my money back’.”

In the interview, he also complained that the Dubai Land Department has recently tightened certain laws, prohibiting developers from single-handedly terminating investor contracts.

The newly introduced Law 9, Lohmann claimed, means developers now have to send three payment reminders and a legal notice to an investor who has defaulted, before handing over documents to RERA.

It is RERA who then decides whether to cancel the contract, he told Arabian Business.

He added: “We do not have the strength any more to sit with the investors and to push them for payments. Some of the investors don’t consider payment reminders and legal notices anymore. They wait to receive the final payment reminder from RERA, which grants them another thirty days to make their overdue payments.

“Since all of our projects have construction-linked payment plans, we have to work very closely with our contractors to match the necessary cash flow.”

Click here to read the full Robin Lohmann interview

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