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Sat 14 Apr 2007 10:58 AM

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Saudi Emaar says attracts industrial zone investors

Emaar Economic City says it has attracted investor interest to build on almost 10% of the industrial zone of its $26.7bn project.

Saudi property developer Emaar Economic City said on Saturday it had attracted investor interest to build on almost 10% of the industrial zone of its 100 billion riyal ($26.7 billion) project.

Investors had "expressed interest" in six million square metres of land of King Abdullah Economic City's industrial zone, Emaar Economic City Chief Executive Nidal Jamjoom said in a statement.

Jamjoom did not say how much investment had been committed to the project, the single-largest private investment ever made in the world's top oil exporter.

The industrial zone spans 63 million square metres, according to the website of the project, which also includes financial, leisure and trade zones.

Saudi newspapers, including al-Watan, had reported this month that the economic city, in which Dubai-based Emaar Properties is a major shareholder, would face difficulty in attracting enough investment.

Jamjoom said the 168 million square metre project, situated north of Red Sea port city Jeddah, was progressing "as per schedule."

Shares of Emaar Economic City, which raised $680 million in an initial public offering in August, were down more than 5% at 11:50 GMT.

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