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Sun 7 Sep 2008 04:00 AM

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The secret of IFA’s success revealed

Aspiring developers should listen up as the secret of Kuwait-based development giant IFA's success has been revealed: mixed-use projects.

Aspiring developers should listen up as the secret of Kuwait-based development giant IFA's success has been revealed: mixed-use projects.

The company's president - Africa and Indian Ocean Wessel Witthuhn pointed out: "We never build just a free-standing hotel, it's always linked to a residential component. The market for residential elements that are coupled with a hotel seems to work really well for us."

As well as marking out residential elements of hotel projects as a particularly strong market, Witthuhn shared IFA's predictions of upcoming hot spots for development around the world.

"We are expanding quite rapidly within Africa. We're presently looking at Mozambique, Angola, going into the Indian Ocean we're looking at Madagascar, Mauritius and we're probably going into Zambia, so we believe Africa is a good market," he said.

"We also see Latin-America as an upcoming market, hence the reason we're going to Brazil now to sort out a development there."

IFA currently has projects under construction in Seychelles, Zanzibar, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, the UAE, Thailand, Amsterdam and North America.

"Partner-wise, we're with Yotel, Kempinski, Four Seasons, Sheraton and obviously Fairmont - and we've also had discussions with Ritz-Carlton," reveals Witthuhn.

For the full interview with Wessel Witthuhn, including the reasoning behind the company's choice of operators, see next month's Hotelier.

• IFA Hotels and Resorts achieved profit results of KD 37.46 million (US $143 million) last year, up 64% compared to the previous year. Total revenues increased 86% to $211.47 million, and total assets increased by 35% to $1.06 billion.

Announcing the results, IFA chairman and managing director Talal Jassim Al-Bahar said the figures were achieved "through completing the first phase of our strategy of concentrating on emerging markets and ensuring strong presence in those markets".

"The future will see IFA Hotels and Resorts entering additional new markets," he said.

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