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Sat 18 Dec 2004 04:00 AM

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Qatar’s hotel building boom kicks into gear

US $30 million Hilton joins Four Seasons and three hotels on The Pearl

Qatar National Bank has signed a multi-million dollar deal with New Doha Hotels to fund the construction of the first Hilton Hotel in Doha. QNB will provide $30 million as a term loan facility to help the newly born New Doha Hotels fund the implementation of its first project in Qatar. The loan granted by QNB constitutes the kick-off phase for the company to open and operate Hilton Doha, which is to be ready before the Asian Games in 2006.

The deal was signed at QNB main office in Doha by Vince Cook, QNB general manager corporate banking and capital markets; Sheikh Saud bin Khalid on behalf of Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani, owner of New Doha Hotels; and Nadir Badruddin, managing director and partner of New Doha Hotels Company. “The Hilton deal is another example of QNB’s role in supporting the property and real estate market in the country. Financing such an international brand like Hilton will add more strength to the hotel sector in Qatar and enhance its position as an emerging business and leisure destination in the region,” said Cook.

The deal is the second of its kind in recent months to be concluded by QNB with property owners. The bank has earlier financed the construction of the 5-stars Four Seasons Hotel in Doha.

“The partnership with QNB represents a positive indication for the success of our first project in Qatar,” said Badruddin. “The loan will help us meet our deadline as agreed with Hilton International and add this luxurious 320-room property to the hotel market in Doha by early 2006.”

Qatar is currently going through something of a hotel construction boom as the country nears the 2006 Asian Games. The Four Seasons hotel is set to open in early February in the upscale West Bay area. The US $137 million development stands on a 55.4 hectare site and will offer 230 guest rooms.

The Pearl Qatar, a US $2.5 billion artifical island under construction off the coast of Doha, will have at least three hotels. The hotels, which are described as ‘luxury’, will have a minimum of 900 rooms between them. No management contracts have yet been announced.

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