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Tue 19 Jan 2010 11:19 AM

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Qatar firm signs JV to target GCC rail projects

Aamal Company inks agreement with Argentinian firm to seek transport projects.

Qatar-based conglomerate Aamal Company on Tuesday announced it had signed a deal with Argentinian transport infrastructure firm Cometrans Group, to develop the Gulf country’s new rail system.

The joint venture, Cometrans Qatar, will also work on the proposed GCC rail system, as well as create a manufacturing facility for the assembly of buses and other industrial vehicles.

Contracts for the multi-billion dollar GCC rail project are set to be awarded by the end of this year with the project fully operational by as early as 2016, it was reported on Monday.

The rail plan, which could cost up to $25bn, has been declared financially feasible by all member states. The rail has a total length of 2,177km with Saudi Arabia (695km) and the UAE (684km) having the longest lines.

The Aamal announcement coincides with a Latin American tour by H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar. The tour is designed to promote bilateral trade within the region.

“This is an important milestone for Aamal and a major step towards achieving Aamal’s long term objectives of creating a solid industrial base with the best technologies, know-how and expertise,” said Aamal Company Chairman, H.E. Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, who is accompanying the Emir on his tour.

“Qatar represents a great investment opportunity for us in a thriving economy with a transparent regulatory environment,” added Cometrans Group chairman Claudio Cirigliano. “Aamal’s strong market and financial position is attractive to foreign investors who are looking for established business partners that can help them penetrate the growing local and regional market.”

One of the GCC’s fastest growing diversified conglomerates, Aamal’s operations comprise of more than 16 business units in the property management and development, industrial, retail, managed services, medical equipment and pharmaceutical sectors. Cometrans Group, meanwhile, operates in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and the US, and has more than 60 years experience in the rail, bus, and transport infrastructure industry.

It transports more than 181 million rail passengers every year in Argentina, 65 million passengers every year on the Peruvian BRT system, and 210 million passengers by buses across its automotive routes throughout South America.

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