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Sat 1 Nov 2008 04:00 AM

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Naseej to become big player

New Bahraini development company Naseej could one day rival major players like Nakheel, Emmar and Qatari Diar, according to the CEO of Ithmaar Development Company (IDC) Mohammed Khalil Alsayed.

New Bahraini development company Naseej could one day rival major players like Nakheel, Emmar and Qatari Diar, according to the CEO of Ithmaar Development Company (IDC) Mohammed Khalil Alsayed.

"In the first few years of activity we will focus on Bahrain but the plan is to then go regional and then international," Alsayed said.

"It will certainly be the most dominant developer to come out of Bahrain. And in terms of the scope of our business there is no other company like it in the Gulf."

Naseej was created in June by Ithmaar Bank and has attracted investment from the Bahraini Government and other big investors in the GCC.

The company will have a start-up capital of $663 million, 60% to be taken up by the founders and 40% by the initial public offer to be released on November 18.

Alsayed said the IPO is the biggest in Bahrain's history and is also the first in the Gulf since the credit crunch hit international markets.

"We want to send a strong positive signal to the market that investors and investment banks need to carry on their business in a normal way despite the situation elsewhere," he said.

"We still have confidence in the medium and long term real estate market in Bahrain and the Gulf."

Alsayed said Nassej will offer a full range of real estate services including finance, planning, design, construction, building materials and facilities management.

He said the idea behind the company is to work closely with the government to fill all of the shortfalls in the Bahrain construction and property market.

"With the construction boom going on we felt that there was a big under-capacity in Bahrain and we wanted to play a role in filling that gap," he said.

"We'll carry out real estate projects, mainly residential housing for low and middle income people, but also other mixed use projects such as hotels, resorts and office towers.

"We will also be acquiring, fully and partially, certain companies engaged in the real estate business."

Alsayed said they also plan to buy up a number of regional and international building material suppliers to resolve shortages in the Kingdom.

"Entering into building materials is a very important part of this venture because it has been a big problem for Bahrain," he said.

"We are discussing with several suppliers to engage in the bulk importation and manufacture of building materials.

"And negotiating with the government to improve facilities that will enable us to bring materials in bigger bulk to the island and reduce costs."

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