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Thu 9 Oct 2008 07:37 AM

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Limitless still keen on UK acquistions

Dubai-owned developer has not been put off market despite dropping bid for Minerva, senior exec says.

Limitless, a real estate firm controlled by government-owned Dubai World, is still looking at acquistions in Britain's property sector despite last month dropping a bid for real estate firm Minerva.

Imad Benharouga, executive director for corporate strategy, said Britain remained a "target" as prices continued to fall, dragged down by the turmoil in global credit markets.

"We continue to monitor the situation in the UK," Benharouga said. "A down-swing in the market could present attractive opportunities for Limitless," he said.

Benharouga said Limitless, which has a global portfolio valued at $110 billion, saidthe firm had more than doubled the number of its projects and markets it was involved in over the last 12 months.

Limitless would be able to make the necessary adjustments to its projects to deal with any possible effects of the credit crisis on the global markets, he said.

Limitless is expected to announce projects in Africa soon, but Benharouga declined to provide more details.

"We have several projects in the pipeline," he said, adding that they would likely be mixed-use developments and resorts.

"Africa is a continent full of resources and a continent that has been forgotten... there has been little movement in terms of developers going in."

The firm is looking to move into China by early 2009 as part of its plan to expand its portfolio in strategic global markets.

"We are very interested in China, we haven't moved into that market yet but we hope to enter within the next six months," Benharouga said."We have to ensure that we have a well balanced portfolio in terms of risk management and we have to be in key strategic markets."

Benharouga said the company was well positioned in Southeast Asia and is looking at other long term opportunities in Vietnam, the region's fastest growing economy.

Limitless said in September that it would help develop a $220 million hotel and luxury residential complex in Vietnam's Halong Bay.

Its partners in the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2012, are Phuong Hung Joint Stock Co. and International Property Investment Partners.

Limitless is also looking at other projects in India, Benharouga said.

"India is a market with strong fundamentals, urbanisation is around mid 20 percent and is expected to expand between 30 and 40 percent over the next 20 years," he said.

The company's portfolio includes projects in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, Malaysia and Vietnam. (Reuters)

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