By Rhys Jones
Bahrain’s Al Areen project, which will incorperate the Oasis Spa Resort receives massive cash boost with the project due to be complete by 2007
Kuwait Investment Company (KIC) has taken a major stake in the US $600 million Oasis Spa Resort project, which is being spearheaded by Gulf Finance House (GFH). Work on the first phase of the 300 000 m2 development is scheduled to start during the middle of this year.
The resort is one of many major projects taking place in Bahrain at the moment. Other high-profile devleopments include Al Durrant Hotel project, Amwaj Islands developments, Bahrain Financial Harbour as well as the recently completed Formula 1 circuit. Oasis should be completed by the end of next year with KIC hoping to cash in on the development.
“We are extremely confident of our decision to invest in Al Areen,” said KIC chairman & managing director Bader Nasser Al Subaee.
“Tourism, particularly family and health tourism, is a key focus area for Bahrain and the project represents an unparalleled development in spirit, as well as magnitude, which will catapult Bahrain’s fame on to the global tourism industry map,” he added.
This is the second time in as many years the two companies have worked together on a real estate development. Last year, KIC worked together with GFH to underwrite $45 million as part of the overall private placement exercise for the Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company. The amount was subsequently oversubscribed.
“We are very excited about having KIC, one of the oldest and most reputed investment institutions in the region, as a key investor in the Al Areen project,” said GFH chief executive officer Esam Janahi.
The Al Areen project is aimed at providing a range of relaxation and rejuvenation facilities, coupled with tourism and leisure activities, hospitality services and residential units. The development has four major components: the Oasis Spa Resort, themed hotels, a residential village and an aqua park. The development and is expected to be finished by 2007.
It will be located behind the Al Areen Wildlife Sanctuary, which is adjacent to the Bahrain International Circuit. The project is being developed as a strategic project by GFH with the support of the Bahrain government, which holds a 33.33% stake in the development and its holding company was set up with $530 million worth of capital.