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Mon 25 Feb 2008 12:00 AM

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Top 50 Influential Arab Property Companies

Arabian Property's definitive list of the most powerful Arab companies in property, including developers, architects, designers, engineering firms, real estate brokers and investment companies.

Power equals influence, and when it comes to property industry, they don't get much more influential.In the past few years, the likes of Emaar and Nakheel have become players on the world stage, with others such as Hydra Properties set to follow suit.

But it is in the Middle East where their bread and butter business lies - and as our property power list shows, it is here where the big companies wield their power.

To put together this year's list, we examined over 300 companies across the board - construction firms, designers, developers, architects and real estate firms. We looked closely at the value of the companies and their projects - plus their spread across the region.

The list you see is the final result - though it is of course only our view on which companies have the greatest influence.

The vast majority of companies on the list are UAE based - given that 80% of the world's cranes are in Dubai, it is little surprise that it is in the UAE that the biggest players have the biggest influence.

Real Estate

Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council

The Government of Abu Dhabi established an Urban Planning Council in September 2007 to oversee the implementation of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030: Urban Structure Framework Plan. The expansion plan is valued at US$163b.

The council is to be chaired by HH General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The Urban Council is responsible for the further development of urban planning policy for Abu Dhabi, and will guide decisions for the next 25 years.

Plan Abu Dhabi 2030: Urban Structure Framework Plan involves 10 individual policy statements, specifying land uses, building heights and transportation plans for the entire metropolitan area of Abu Dhabi.

Under the plan, the city is projected to grow to over three million people by 2030, with the plan providing for large new areas of Emirati housing. The plan addresses many of the major development issues the Emirate currently faces during its expansion and diversification process.

Al Fara'a Properties

Al Fara'a Properties is a subsidiary of the Al Fara'a's Construction Group, a group of companies focused on property development. The UAE-based multi-discipline construction conglomerate has plans to develop up to 10 projects, with a value exceeding US$683m.

The company, which has eight building materials subsidiaries and employs 13,000 people, is also planning to expand into India, the UK and Jordan. Al Fara'a Properties services include property sales and buying, leasing, development and management investment portfolios, facilities management and corporate client consultancy.

Al Fara'a Properties has started construction work on the US$96m Manhattan Luxury Apartments project in Jumeirah Village. The project is the company's second development following its first project Le Grand Chateau. The company also has won the US$53m contract to build the Al Waleed Paradise Tower in the Jumeirah Lakes project and signed contracts for the construction of three further hotels in Dubai.

The group has doubled growth in the last two years to an overall rate of 150%. Al Fara'a Properties is headed by JR Gangaramani, chairman and managing director of parent company Al Fara'a Construction Group while his daughter Natasha Gangaramani holds the role of properties director. The group has been operating in the UAE for 27 years.

Al Ghurair Real Estate

Al Ghurair Real Estate is the property leasing and trading arm of the Al Ghurair Group, which has been in business in the UAE for more than 40 years.

The family-owned group is managed and headed by chairman, Saif Al Ghurair.

The real estate core function is leasing and trading in retail real estate in the Middle East. Al Ghurair Group owns and manages Burjuman Mall, Al Ghurair City, Al Ghurair Office Tower and the Al Reef Mall. Al Ghurair also operates a construction arm with a range of concrete, aluminum and other industrial manufacturing subsidiaries.

Dubai developer ETA Star is a subsidiary of the Al Ghurair Group, which is currently developing a range of properties in countries across the Middle East and South-East Asia, including India and Sri Lanka.

ETA Star was the first developer in the region to be awarded the ISO certification, and has launched projects close to 10 million sq ft in various master development communities including Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai International Financial Centre, Business Bay and International Media Production Zone.

ETA Star's portfolio includes 23 Marina, Al Manara, Liberty House, Gold Crest Executive, The Palm Jumeriah Residence and the Spa and Grandeur Residences.

Al Tayer

High Rise Real Estate was founded in 2004 by Abdul Hakim Al Tayer. It is a Middle East conglomerate with business interests in banking, finance, and construction. The group also operates construction giant Obaid Humaid Al Tayer Engineering.

With the UAE's construction industry surging in the early 1980's, Obaid Humaid Al Tayer Engineering Division was established in 1981 to meet the growing demands for specialised companies in the field. The company exclusively represents and distributes products and services for major worldwide companies in various market sectors, including aerospace, construction materials and building products and sewerage and water.

High Rise Real Estate has been involved in a range of Dubai projects including the Rotating Residence, Dorna, the Heights, the Wave Business Towers, the Orchid and the recently launched High Rise Boulevard development.

The company has US$5.5bn invested in property developments. Its long-term strategy is to develop luxurious landmark properties throughout the Middle East.

High Rise Properties is also establishing one of the largest pre-cast factories in the Middle East to produce all types of concrete panels.

High Rise has established offices in Moscow, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Tehran and London and launched the US$850m, 10-tower project High Rise Boulevard at the Jumeirah Village South in October.

A residential and commercial development, High Rise Boulevard will consist of four commercial high rises including a hotel, hotel apartments and office space buildings as well as six residential towers.

Arab Engineering Bureau

Arab Engineering Bureau was first established in 1966, as the first engineering office in Qatar and its activities were primarily architectural design and supervision. Over some 40 years, AEB has evolved into an international consultancy with projects spanning all sectors including Abu Dhabi, Oman, Kuwait, Egypt, Yemen and Sudan. The company offers services in architecture, interior design, services engineering, project management and model making with its 300 staff operating in 20 countries.

In 1991 the award winning architect Ibrahim Jaidah bought the company and a new philosophy was adopted. The Minister for Municipal Affairs and Agriculture honoured Jaidah for his design of the Shaqab Institute for Girls at Reyyan Area with its links to local tradition and heritage. The same project was also nominated as a candidate for the 2001 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

With more than 1, 000 projects in Qatar and throughout the Middle East, AEB is on its way to becoming a major player in the world of architectural consultancy. Projects are varied and include commercial, residential, interior and hospitality. The group has recently signed a contract for the design of a multi-purpose Bentley car showroom and office building in Doha. AEB has been involved with the proposed design work on the Nile Mogran project in Sudan, the Luxury Marina Residential Villas in Abu Dhabi and the Qatar Consulate in Dubai.

Better Homes

Better Homes was established in Dubai in 1986 by CEO Linda Mahoney.

It began as a one-woman business in the garage of a Jumeirah villa, but now has 10 offices throughout Dubai and the firm expanded internationally into Europe, Asia, and North America.

It employs more than 400 people and is estimated to sell, lease and manage more properties than any other agency in the Gulf.

The company's range of services has grown from leasing to sales, property management and consultancy. Its project sales and marketing division has forged exclusive agreements with a range of high-profile developers and landlords involved with most of the major real estate developments in Dubai, such as Emirates Lakes, Emirates Hills, Dubai Festival City and Emirates Towers.

Better Homes is thought to have introduced new practices in the UAE property market, including the concept of short-term rentals for business or vacation and an online property search facility that offers real-time property listings by type, price and location.

In 2007, the real estate agency reported a 500% growth in commercial sales over the first three quarters of the year which it said was spurred by the continued high level of demand on the leasing side, rising capital values and increased regulation in the market.


Dubai-based real estate company Deyaar was established in 2002 with capital of US$5m. Following its IPO in May 2007, the firm is now worth US$1.6bn.

Deyaar's international presence includes Lebanon, Turkey and UK with expansion through joint ventures planned into Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Qatar and India.

The group's projects include the Jumeirah Lake Towers, offering 87 towers, 21 of which will be completed by the of this year.

Deyaar has interests in property development and facilities management, brokerage, marketing and sales. The company currently manages more than 16,000 commercial and residential properties.

Due diligence is also being conducted on various other high potential emerging markets while the company has expanded into UK, with an office in London. Deyaar is expected to announce further projects within Dubai Marina, Business Bay, Downtown Jebel Ali, IMPZ and the Dubai Waterfront in 2008. The value of project launches within the UAE throughout the year 2007 is expected to be more than US$2.1bn, in comparison with projects launched in 2006 valued at US$600m. Deyaar announced a net profit of US$54m for the period ending 30th September, 2007.

Abu Dhabi Investment House

Abu Dhabi Investment House may have only established itself in 2005 but this Abu Dhabi-based investor, which also has interests in asset management and private equity among other projects, saw its profits increase by 375% by 2006. Offices have already been established in Geneva and Bahrain and company CEO Rashid Janahi says it's just the beginning,"We have existing investments in Asia - which is a very attractive market and could possibly see more Abu Dhabi Investment House (ADIH) activity, as is America as a highly potential market."

One of its biggest investments in the real estate sector has been its US$90m investment in The Lagoon, Bahrain and Amwai Islands. The Lagoon development, Phase 1 of which has already been handed over to tenants comprises eight low rise seafront blocks which will house restaurant and retail outlets. The master plan for the 2.75 million sq m development was designed drawing inspiration from London's Covent Garden and Sydney's Cockle Bay Wharf.

Its other major project is Sunset Hills. Due for completion in 2009, the Bahrain development is a joint venture between ADIH and Kuwaiti investment firm Sorouth Investments. Located at the US$1.3bn Al Areen project in Bahrain, Sunset Hills will house 300 real estate units including villas, townhouses and luxury apartments over 44,000 sq m. Other projects in the GCC include Qatar's US$3bn Entertainment City.

Al Qudra Holding

Al Qudra Holding is a joint stock company which was established in Abu Dhabi in 2005 with a capital of US$150m. The company invests in real estate, industrial, infrastructure, financial investments and services.

Currently, AL Qudra Holding's market capitalisation is in excess of US$8m.

Its real estate projects, headed by the Al Qudra Real Estate subsidiary, include the Ain Al Emarat mega project in Abu Dhabi which combines healthcare, tourism, retail and residential sectors in one community.

The developer's first project in Abu Dhabi, is Danet Abu Dhabi, comprising 34 mixed-use towers, residential and office spaces, a commercial facility and a hotel. The entire development was sold in less 45 days of the launch earlier this year.

Other projects from the master developer include Abu Dhabi's Zayed Bay project which offers approximately 100 office and residential towers with horizontal structures as well as 10 to 35 storey office and residential buildings.

The group is also developing the Desert Towers in Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed City in Mussafah, Abu Dhabi. The project is a residential community, entailing buildings ranging from four to 22 storeys in height.

Galadari Investment Office

The Galadari Investment Office (GIO) is the real estate investment subsidiary of the Rashid Abdul Wahab Galadari Group, a family-owned business based in Dubai. The Galadari Group's activities range from high profile consumer brands sold through retail outlets, to the supply of heavy industrial plants.

GIO's portfolio ranges from residential property management to property investment leasing, sales, land acquisition and development. Rashid AW Galadari established GIO in 2005, and aims to transform the property landscape in the region by developing a series of projects that break conventional barriers. The firm entered the local and regional property scene with the up-scale residential G-Tower, a US$250m development. At 45-storeys, G Tower is one of the Emirates tallest residential establishments and located in the City of Arabia.

Also under development is the Badria Towers, which aims to become the most luxurious residential tower in the world. GIO's portfolio ranges from residential property management to property investment leasing, sales, land acquisition and development.

Gulf Finance House

Since its inception in 1999 this Bahrain-based investment house and bank has placed heavy emphasis on its broad-based portfolio of major infrastructure projects, building opportunities and future prosperity across the region and investing over US$12bn.

Its investments include US$1.4bn Bahrain Financial Harbour, the US$1bn Al Areen development in Bahrain's desert and the massive US$3.3bn leisure and tourism development, Legends Dubailand.

With a paid up capital of US$239m and an authorized capital of US$300m and a commitment to the Islamic Sharia philosophy of wealth, GFH has spread its investments across three continents, Asia, Africa and Europe.

Jordan Gate is one such project which is being undertaken in partnership with the Municipality of Greater Amman and Kuwait Finance House and Investment Company. This futuristic development will consist of two high-rise buildings connected to a shopping mall and services area. Located at the 6th Circle Junction, one of the highest points in the city, the development will also have a five star hotel operated by Hilton International.

One of the most exciting visionary projects undertaken by GFH is the US$1.3bn Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH). Conceived as a financial city, BFH is the first development of its kind in the Middle East with a site area of over 2 million sq ft reclaimed from the sea. The heart of the development, the Financial Centre, is currently under construction including two office towers, a Financial Mall and the Harbour House - a landmark building at the centre of the development.

Other investment includes the Royal Metropolis in the Kingdom of Jordan, Energy City Qatar in Doha, Qatar, the Gateway to Morocco in the Kingdom of Morocco and Energy City India in Mumbai, India.

Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA)

Established in 2000 by the government of Saudi Arabia, SAGIA's mission is to create a business friendly environment, provide comprehensive services to investors and foster investment opportunities in energy, transportation and knowledge-based industries. Its inception followed the announcement of a New Foreign Investment Law.

SAGIA recently announced the launch of four greenfield, privately developed economic cities across the Kingdom; King Abdullah City, Knowledge Economic City, Jazan Economic City and Prince Abdulaziz Bin Mousaed Economic City, and has canvassed the country for viable investment opportunities in both the public and private sectors. This will provide SAGIA with an up-to-date database that lists opportunities with competitive advantage which is in line with its mission to enhance investments for foreign and domestic investors.

In total, 400 opportunities have been identified by SAGIA that cover eight sectors in Saudi Arabia's various regions. Aggregate funding amounts to US$13.5bn and caters to investors looking for mega projects or small and medium enterprises.

Knowledge Economic City, one of the four cities, will be developed on a 4.8 million sq m land which will attract US$6.7bn worth of investments. The project is expected to add 20,000 new jobs to the region and will include various zones designed to compliment each other including a technology and KBI zone, an advanced IT studies institute, an interactive museum devoted to the life of PBUH Prophet Mohammad, a campus for medical research and life sciences; an integrated medical services zone; a retail zone and a business district.


Originally established to invest up to US$2.2bn in the UAE real estate market Kuwaiti real estate developer, Abyaar, is set to double its investments by 2010. Abyaar is a joint venture between Kuwait's Aayan Leasing and Investment Company, a leading investment player and major real estate developer, Al Rashdan Group. The company now has an extensive portfolio across Dubai and throughout the GCC.

Abyaar invests in real estate in compliance with the rules and regulations of Islamic Sharia and plans to invest in residential, commercial, retail and hospitality projects across the region.

The developer currently has US$2.72bn of development in Dubai including The Acacia Avenues and The Business Bay Centre at Dubai Investments Park. The Acacia Avenues is the only freehold development on offer in the Jumeirah area. Stage one will provide a range of accommodation including Olgana - 137 freehold apartments and villas. Hilliana is the following phase which will house 137 freehold serviced apartments.

Other developments include its Venti Quattro (VQ) furnished apartments in Dubai Marina which is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will be handled by Radisson SAS. A second VQ is also being developed across the Marina which will house 234 apartments including studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom flats as well as three-bedroom town houses and two penthouses.

Aldar Properties

Aldar Properties PJSC is an Abu Dhabi-based real estate development and investment company, established to create real estate developments throughout Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the Middle East. The company currently has a development portfolio comprising major residential, commercial, leisure and hospitality schemes in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

Aldar was established in December 2004 through an US$40m share offer on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market. Following the IPO, Aldar acquired Addar Real Estate Services, a locally held private company that was formed in May 2000.

Aldar's first development project was the Al Jimi Mall in Al Ain in conjunction with the Al Ain Municipality and Town Planning Department.

Aldar's founding shareholders include leading Abu Dhabi institutions and prominent, individual shareholders. Principal shareholders include Mubadala Development Company, Abu Dhabi Investment Company, the National Investor, Abu Dhabi National Hotels Company and the National Corporation for Tourism and Hotels.

Aldar's flagship development is the redevelopment of the Central Market along Khalifa and Hamdan streets in the UAE capital, under a 50-year concession awarded by the Abu Dhabi government. This site will be transformed into a town centre and high-rise commercial development, focused around speciality retail outlets, cultural attractions, a traditional Arab souk and transport hub for the city of Abu Dhabi. Construction work started in 2005 and will be completed by 2009.

Al-Futtaim Group

Established in the 1930's, the Al-Futtaim Group initially operated as a trading enterprise but rapid development throughout the 1940's and 1950's saw it establish itself regionally as an integrated commercial, industrial and services organisation. Today it operates collectively over 40 companies through operations including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Egypt.

As well as retail, automotive and other sectors, Al-Futtaim is pushing into real estate development in a major way. Milestone developments already include Dubai Festival City and Mall of the Emirates, Dubai.

Similar to Al-Futtaim's US$4bn Cairo Festival City in Egypt, Dubai Festival City is a 526 hectare development with shops, offices, apartments and hotels. The US$12bn development includes Festival City Waterfront Centre for retail, dining and entertainment which is already home to 550 shops, 20 flagship and anchor stores as well as 90 restaurants and cafés. In addition, a Skywalk Entertainment level will be home to a 12-screen Grand Cinema Complex, Electronics Collection, Bowling City, Skywalk food court and a Fitness First gymnasium.

The project was the first to introduce the big box retail concept to the Middle East with the launch of the largest IKEA store in the UAE at 650,000 sq ft as well as the Hyperpanda Hypermarket.

Al-Futtaim recently said it hoped to clinch a deal in India this year to build a project similar to Festival City. Additionally, Al-Futtaim Carillion is a joint venture between the Al-Futtaim Group and Carillion Construction of the UK. It has also been involved with the Barr Al Jissah Resort and Dubai Festival City projects. Al- Futtaim Carillion's other major projects in Dubai include the Burj Dubai Downtown, Emirates Hills and Dubai Marina Towers.

The joint venture is estimated to have signed agreements for up to a further US$11bn of construction work

Al Habtoor Group

One of the leading construction and engineering companies in the Middle East, Al Habtoor Engineering has built some of Dubai's most famous hotels including the Burj Al Arab, the US$840m tallest hotel in the region, the Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the Metropolitan Palace Hotel, Habtoor Grand Resort and Spa, Shangri-La, Hotel Crowne Plaza and the Dusit Dubai, all of which have become synonymous with the city.

From humble beginnings, Al Habtoor developed into a global player. It acquired the 1SO 9002 certification in 1996, forging major projects in Dubai as well as Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt and Qatar.

Its current projects include the construction of the global corporate icon, Iris Bay in Dubai's Business Bay. In a joint partnership with Sheth Estate International, the international arm of Sheth Group of India, Al Habtoor will build the half moon shaped building which will feature three levels for parking and 36 floors for office use.

More recently the company announced it had been awarded the US$218m contract to build phase three of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec). The contract includes a 60,000 sq m extension to the existing hall, the construction of two large car parks and a 33-storey tower comprising a hotel and office space. The extension to the exhibition space is due for completion next October while the entire development, including a 2.3km-long marina and up to five hotels, will be completed in 2011.

Al Habtoor was also amongst the first contractors in the region to sign up to BuildSafeDubai, a new initiative aimed at improving health and safety standards on construction sites.

Al Mazaya Holding

Al Mazaya Holding is a Kuwait-based regional real estate development company. The company has a market capitalisation of US$110m.

The firm intends to announce US$1.6bn worth of projects in 2008, while its ongoing projects include a residential project exceeding US$290m in Dubailand, and a skyscraper in the Dubai Commercial Port. The firm's developments include Kuwait Business Town, the US$50m 7 Zones project in Kuwait and the Jumeirah Lakes Towers project in Dubai.

In 2007, Al Mazaya launched its real estate index to measure the level of property price movements across the region, the first such initiative of its kind.

Al Mazaya Holding announced a 54% jump in its profits for the first half of 2007 to US$42.8m compared with the same period last year.

The company is also diversifying its investments, with the establishment of a property portfolio in Oman, and two new property arms in Jordan and Qatar.

Al Rostamani Group

Al Rostamani Group is one of the largest conglomerates in the UAE which has been active in the region for more than 50 years. The group recently formed a US$2.3bn sharia-compliant real estate development fund which would suggest its real estate sector is set to grow even further.

With more than 3,000 people and net assets in excess of US$550m, Al Rostamani has come a long way since 1954.

Group founder Abdullah Hassan Al Rostamani was born in Dubai in 1931. His father, Haj Hassan, was a merchant in the Gulf and India. Al Rostamani started work as a clerk when he was 15 and his first business venture began with capital of just 100 Rupees. In 1954, with his brother Abdul Wahed Hassan Al Rostamani, he set up Al Ahliya Library, Dubai's first bookshop. A few years later the brothers started a general trading company that would eventually become Al Rostamani Group.The business really began to take off after the formation of the federation in 1971.

A milestone in the development of the brothers' business empire came in 1969 when they secured the franchise for Nissan cars. Arabian Automobiles, the Nissan dealership, is Al Rostamani Group's flagship company. It now has a range of diverse activities in automobiles, heavy vehicles, spare parts and services, travel related products, foreign exchange, land development, building industry related products, infrastructure development, electronic communications and general trading.

It also has interests in real estate. The group is now made up of more than 17 companies. Abdul Wahed is Partner and Managing Director. Most recently, the group unveiled Emirates Recycling LLC, a company dedicated to recycling construction and demolition waste. It also has partnerships with global leaders like Suzuki, Renault, Nissan Diesel, Tata, Michelin, Castrol and NEC.

More than 3,000 people work for the various companies, which have interests across the GCC and beyond.

Al Rostamani Real Estate provides services for both the commercial and residential sectors and is responsible for the development of the iconic 21st Century Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road and the AW Rostamani head office building in Deira.

Damac Properties

Damac Properties is the property development arm of the Damac Group, which has interests in real estate development, catering, insurance, manufacturing, education, securities, investment and commercial trading.

The Dubai-based developer currently has US$1.7bn in projects in the pipeline and has previously developed the Palm Terrace on The Palm Jumeirah and the Lake Terrace at Jumeirah Lake Towers. Damac has also developed the Marina Terrace, The Waves and Ocean Heights, all at Dubai Marina.

Hussain Ali Habib Sajwani is the founder, owner and chairman of Damac Group, and is estimated to have a net worth of $2.1 billion, while Damac Properties is thought to have a property portfolio worth US$4bn. The firm has launched a total of 79 towers across the region over the last five years, in various stages of construction. The company is also developing the US$16bn Gamsha Bay in Egypt, one of the largest master developments in the region.

The 320 million sq ft Gamsha Bay project has more than 55,000 units and is located north of Hurghada.

Other major developments by the company include Business Bay in Dubai, Dubailand, TECOM Zone, IMPZ, Jumeirah Village and the Dubai Marina where the firm has nine towers either planned or under construction.

Damac Properties is one of the largest privately-owned property firms in the Middle East, and is expanding into North Africa, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar and the Far East.

Damac Group has regional offices in the United Kingdom, Russia, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan, Iran and Abu Dhabi.

It currently has operations in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Algeria.

Dubai Properties

It's difficult to know where to begin with this real estate, Dubai-based developer. A member of Dubai Holding, Dubai Properties is responsible for some of the city's most prolific real estate developments including Business Bay and Culture Village, both of which are expected to have a positive impact on the city's cultural and economic aspects.

Established in 2004, Dubai Properties is the developer responsible for Jumeirah Beach Residence, the largest single phase residential development in the world. Covering 1.7km JBR features 36 residential towers containing studio, one,two ,three and four-bed apartments, four hotel towers, four beach clubs and one beach park. Another first for the JBR is The Walk, which will be Dubai's only outdoor shopping area.

Other projects include labour camps, retail developments and a number of other residential projects. More large scale developments include Business Bay, which once it is completed will be the region's financial capital and Culture Village.

Culture Village, currently being developed on Dubai Creek, is an ambitious project worth an estimated US$14bn. Culture Village has been designed to try and re-establish culture into the region through the incorporation of museums and art galleries. The development, which includes a mixture of residential and commercial space, is being completed in three phases, each of which will be 1.2 sq m. Culture Village is being developed on previously unused land which is worth an estimated US$14bn.

Dubai Properties also has commitments in Dubailand with its residential retreat, The Villa. Covering 3 million sq ft this development will contain Spanish style villas in hacienda-style residential communities.


Emaar is one of the world's largest retail estate companies and is responsible for much of Dubai's developments. Listed on the Dubai Financial Market and part of the Dow Jones Arabia Titans Index, last year Emaar announced a revenue of US$3.8bn, indicating an annual increase of revenue by 68% and a net profit of 35%.

That's not surprising given that Emaar is currently building some of the largest projects in Dubai and the rest of the world. Its current projects include Dubai Marina, Arabian Ranches - a desert themed residential development while Emirates Living which includes Emirates Hills, The Meadows, The Springs, The Greens, The Lakes and The Views is complete.

Its most ambitious project is Downtown Burj Dubai. At a cost of US$20bn this project is currently running to schedule is changing the face of Dubai and is being billed as the most prestigious square kilometre on earth. Encompassing residential, commercial, hospitality and leisure components around a 12 hectare lake and a 75 metre wide and 3.5km long boulevard, the project will also be home to the world famous Burj Dubai. The tallest freestanding structure will also feature the world's first Armani Hotel and Armani Residences as well as an observation platform on level 124.

The world's largest shopping mall, Dubai Mall, will feature the world's largest single volume aquarium featuring a 180 degree tunnel. Burj Dubai Boulevard, Burj Dubai Square, The Lofts, Burj Dubai Lake Hotel, The Old Town, The Old Town Island, The Residences and South Ridge complete this huge development.

As well as its projects in the UAE, Emaar has a number of business interests abroad. In line with its Vision 2010 Emaar is charting a new course of growth through a two-pronged strategy of geographical expansion and business segmentation. With its six business divisions and more than 60 active companies Emaar has an active presence in more than 36 markets spanning the Middle East, North Africa, Pan-Asia, Europe and North Africa.

Emaar International covers projects across the world including Jordan, China, Pakistan, USA - through John Laing Homes and Turkey.

The company's flagship development is Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Economic City. At 55 million sq m and a cost of US$26.6bn, the mixed-use development will be the single largest private sector-led project in the region. Stretching across 35km of beach the project is located in between the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madina and the commercial hub of Jeddah.

The city will have six key components - the Sea Port, Industrial Zone, Central Business District (including the Financial District), Resort District, Educational Zone and Residential Communities. It is hoped that the city will provide employment opportunities for up to 500,000 people.

Last month the company also unveiled its plans for Abraj Al Hilal, a key residential component of Jeddah Gate, the US$1.6bn project located in downtown Jeddah. Sprawling over half a million sq m this project will have 6,000 residential units, 230,000 sq m of office space and 75,000 sq m of commercial space.

First Qatar

This real estate developer, formerly known as Al Shamiya Holding Company, is currently developing four beach plots on Qatar's own version of the Dubai's The Palm - Pearl Island. The man-made islands, which cover a total land area of 3,986,954 sq m, will create 40km of new coastline and house more than 30,000 residents.

The Qatari real estate developer, which has headquarters in both Qatar and Kuwait, has committed itself to spend US$350m in the Pearl over the next three years. The four beach plots with a 35,000 sq m total area, includes Porto Arabia due for development in phase one, Viva Bahreya in phase two and Abraj Quartier in phase three.

In the company's First Towers (phase one project) a total of 205 units will be built ranging from studios apartments up to five bedroom luxury penthouses. There will be a total of four towers built in the 35,000 sq m area with one tower to be built in phase one, two towers in the second phase and a 35-storey residential building is being planned in phase three of the project.

As well as Pearl Island, First Qatar has also been investing in Oman and Kuwait. In Oman the company has purchased US$10m worth of land for a potential mixed-use development while in Kuwait, US$19m worth of land has been acquired for a residential development. It is currently waiting on the outcome of a freehold property law in both countries before it begins construction.

Hydra Properties

Described as an innovative leader in UAE development, Hydra Properties is currently building some of the most forward thinking developments in the region.

Hydra Village in Abu Dhabi will be one of the most eco-friendly developments in the UAE. The gated community at the entrance of Abu Dhabi will feature town houses and apartments as well as commercial offices surrounded by recreational parks and open spaces.

The community will also feature a five-star hotel.

Sustainability and eco-friendly features play a large role in the development of Hydra Village. Key initiatives include environmental conservation through built-in insulation, the use of energy saving electrical fitments and weather stripping, in addition to the creation of recycling areas around the village allowing residents to recycle paper, card, tin cans, glass and plastic. The village will also feature a highly robust water conservation programme which will focus on more efficient practices of conserving water.

Furthermore, residents of Hydra Village will be able to enrol in Hydra Properties'certified Green Programme which concentrates on the concept of green living including free transport within its grounds aimed at reduction of vehicular emissions. All properties will also have a ‘Smart Home' concept. Other Hydra Properties developments include Down Town Tower, in Downtown Dubai, Twin Towers in Jumeirah Village and Hydra Waves on the Northern Pacific Coast of Mexico.

KM Holding

KM Holding has three property branches under its umbrella, KAT, KM Properties and KM Rent. Its real estate arm KM Properties was one of the first developers to register for Dubai's latest Land Department's law changes for escrow accounts.

With a focus on developing locally and internationally to achieve high returns this real estate developer has a portfolio consisting of residential, commercial and freehold properties. The company currently has three projects underway in Dubai and numerous more in the pipeline.

In July this year construction started on its Tamani Hotel at Park Lane, Business Bay. Designed by architect Carlos Ott, this mixed-use skyscraper will feature 33 storeys of commercial, recreation and hotel facilities. The glass and steel structure will house seven storeys for the Tamani hotel and is due for completion in 2009.

Also designed by Ott is KM Holding's B2B Tower, a 20-storey tower in Business Bay.

TAMANI Exclusive at El Matador Tower is also scheduled for delivery in 2009.

The Spanish style condominium tower will offer studios and apartments in Jumeirah Village.

KM recently announced its new cluster development at this year's Cityscape.

The TAMANI Arts Cluster in Business Bay will include an office tower, hotel and commercial and recreational facilities.

The company will also provide FM services to all of its residential and commercial buildings as well as other property developers and building owners. KM Properties formed a US$2.3bn sharia-compliant real estate fund last April which will develop and own an international chain of hotels. KM Properties has already invested US$290m in a 700 room hotel and serviced project in Dubai, scheduled to open next year.

The flagship property will form the blueprint for a multi-market roll-out of a ground-up development as well as be the showcase for the company. KM Properties has already signed three management agreements in addition to the Dubai project, with another seven in advanced stages of negotiation.

The subsidiary will manage sharia-adherent properties across the Middle East and Asia. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Morocco, Malaysia and India have already been selected as prime entry markets in the first 12 months.


Set up in July 2005, this member of Dubai World was set up with the key objective of diversifying and globalizing Dubai's portfolio of leading development companies by leveraging the know-how and exposure gained by its parent company's other real estate initiatives through Nakheel.

Limitless is the appropriate name for a company whose first high profile project was Downtown Jebel Ali. Stretching 11km this major urban development between Jebel Ali Free Zone, Techno Park and Dubai Waterfront is already well underway and is due for completion within seven years.

Its other major project in Dubai is the design and construction of the Arabian Canal. At a cost of US$11bn this will be the largest, most complex civil engineering job ever undertaken in the Middle East. This record breaking project includes the creation of a 75km waterway past the new Dubai World International Centre International Airport and towards Palm Jumeirah.

Up to 150 wide and six metres deep this man-made river will be able to accommodate boats up to 40 metres long. Work is expected to start towards the end of this year and will be completed in phases over a 15-year period. "Arabian Canal - Dubai's most ambitious mega-project yet - draws on our key strengths of innovative engineering and master planning distinctive developments. It will involve digging and moving more than a million cubic metres of earth - enough to fill 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools - every day. Arabian Canal will, without question, be one of the wonders of the engineering world," says Saeed Ahmed Saeed, CEO of Limitless.

Abroad Limitless is pursuing projects in India and Vietnam. Work will soon start on India's biggest new community, Bidadi Township near Bangalore. In Vietnam the Halong Star mixed-use development at Halong Bay is a joint venture between Limitless, Phuong Bay Joint Stock Company and International Investment Partners.

In a bid to expand its worldwide portfolio, the company recently announced the inception of two new companies in the Far East. Limitless World China will be based in Hong Kong and Limitless Consultancy Company in Shanghai.

MBI International

Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber is the founder, chairman and CEO of MBI International, a group of companies with an asset value in excess of US$4.8bn which operates across Europe, the Middle East and the United States.

Working with governments and international corporations, the group's current initiatives include the provision of residential cities - operated and maintained by Jadawel - and the development of substantial leisure resorts and a number of other projects in various sectors around the Middle East.

Jadawel International is the company's development sector which already has five completed residential communities in Saudi Arabia with more in the planning stages. Jadawel International was established in 1984 by Al Jaber who recognized the need for housing facilities and services for the growing Western ex-pat population in Saudi. In 2001 the company was rated the 17th largest company in Saudi.

Communities already completed and occupied include Dorrat Al Jadawel in Riyadh, Jadawel City on the Damman Highway, California style town home living in Jadawel Village and Al Jawhara Village in Dhahran and Al Jawahara Motel in Al Khobar.

Jadawel's expertise is not just in building the residential facilities, but also in providing the infrastructure to support these self-contained compounds. The infrastructure supplied includes roads, potable water, sewerage and sewerage treatment plants, electricity, security, telecommunications and satellite TV.

Rated as the 17th largest company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2001, Jadawel's primary objectives have been the design, construction, operation and management of purpose-built residential communities with recreation services and facilities, hard and soft furnishings and security for lease to international clientele.


Best known for its groundbreaking developments Nakheel is literally changing the face of Dubai as we know it. If it isn't hauling up tonnes of sand to make the world's largest man-made islands, it could be building the world's largest themed mall - Ibn Battuta - or maybe creating the world's largest waterfront development in Jebel Ali. Whatever they are creating, you can be sure it will be big.

Nakheel currently has a range of projects ranging across 185 million sq ft of land worth more than US$30bn. It is creating 1,000km of new waterfront, building homes for more than 3 million people and increasing the number of Dubai's hotels by more than 50%.

Residents have already moved onto The Palm Jumeirah and by the end of the year the first phase of its 4,000 apartments and villas will be handed over. Home to more than 30 hotels including the Atlantis, along its 70km of new beach, Palm Jumeirah will be one of Dubai's largest tourist attractions once completed.

At the heart of The Palm Jumeirah is The Truck, a two kilometer long living, retail and tourism destination. Connected to the Dubai mainland by The Gateway Bridge and Monorail, The Truck will be home to The Fairmont Palm Residence, Trump Tower International Hotel & Tower as well as other upscale hotels and retail developments. Surrounding The Truck is 17 fronds for beachfront living and The Crescent, an 11km crescent surrounding the island which will also be home to some of the regions leading hotels including Atlantis.

Transport around the island will be provided in the form of a monorail, a 5.4km long system which will transport up to 6,000 people and the Sub-Sea Tunnel which connects the main body of The Palm Jumeirah to The Crescent. An engineering achievement in itself, this 1.4km, six lane, underwater tunnel will accommodate three lanes of traffic in each direction along with a service/emergency cell in between them.

If the island itself wasn't impressive enough, then visitors will marvel at the ocean-themed Atlantis hotel, which is already taking shape. Home to the largest open air marine habitat in the Middle East, with 65,000 marine animals in lagoons and displays as well as 1,539 rooms, this hotel also features an epic arch similar to its sister hotel in The Bahamas.

Built on 120 acres of The Crescent the Atlantis is due to open in 2009. Many of the island's hotels are scheduled to open from 2009 and all should be completed by 2012.

Palm Jumeirah is just one of the Palms in Dubai. The first phase of reclamation on the Palm Jebel Ali is already complete with the shape already visible. Reclamation on the Palm Deira is also progressing well. The Palm Deira will also be four times the size of the Palm Jumeriah and home to more than a million people.

Then there is The World project. With reclamation due to be completed next year and the first resorts open by the end of 2008, The World will have more than 300 islands in total.

"Nakheel is increasing the amount of beachfront by 1,000km over the coming decades. We're not only changing the face of tourism in Dubai, we're transforming the very map of Dubai on that journey," says Manal Shaheen, director of sales and customer service of Nakheel.

Omniyat Properties

Omniyat Properties launched in 2005 and is the real estate development arm of Omniyat Holdings, the Dubai-based conglomerate. It specialises in use of modern technology and service concepts.

The firm has limited its development projects to high-end unique projects, predominantly sub-developments of the Business Bay project. Its range of projects is estimated to be worth US$3b.

Omniyat Holdings is currently planning to launch an investment bank in Bahrain, which will primarily invest funds in real estate opportunities across the region. The firm plans to use these funds for its expansion plans in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.

Omniyat Properties current developments are commercial towers; Bayswater, One Business Bay, The Binary, The Opus, The Gemini and residential projects; The Pad, The Square. All of these projects are based around Business Bay except for The Square. Another high-profile project - The Pad - is a prestigious residential tower on Business Bay that will feature state-of-the-art living, and is designed to resemble an Apple Ipod.

The Pad, designed by James Law Cybertecture International, is attempting to become the world's most technologically advanced residential building. Meanwhile ‘The Opus', One of the first projects launched by Omniyat has been designed by Zaha Hadid, the high-profile British/Iraqi architect and designer.

Many of these projects are now under construction and expected to be completed between 2009 and 2010.

Plus Properties

Dubai-based property developer Plus Properties is currently developing three residential projects in the UAE worth a combined US$231m. The company's first projects are two freehold towers in the Dubai Waterfront master development near Palm Jebel Ali and a single 30-storey tower on Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi.

The Dubai-based company was founded by CEO George Chehwane, a Lebanese businessman running a portfolio of media, production and advertising companies throughout the Middle East. The firm specializes in luxury waterfront properties and is currently acquiring a portfolio of high end residential real estate in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Plus Properties will set up offices in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Lebanon and will move into realty services such as sales, leasing and warehousing once its development arm is fully established. The three buildings will together bring a total of 750 luxury units onto the market.

Plus Properties is expected to announcement more UAE developments in 2008. Both the Dubai Waterfront properties which are made up of the Pixel Tower and the Wave Residence, and Sky Gardens on the natural Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi, are designed by James Law Cybertecture International Ltd. The Hong Kong based firm specialises in futuristic architecture which is reflected in the unusual designs of the three towers.

RAK Properties

RAK Properties is a public joint stock company listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market. The real estate development company launched its first project, Julfar Towers, a 43-storey twin office and residential project at a cost of US$136m, in February 2006. This was followed by Mina Al Arab, spread over 30 million sq ft at a cost of US$2.7bn in May 2006. The company is also developing the US$81m RAK Tower in Abu Dhabi, its first project outside the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

RAK Properties recorded an increase of 229 per cent in sales in the third quarter of 2007 compared to the third quarter of 2006. The total sales value recorded is US$205m as against US$62 million in the corresponding period in 2006. This was attributed to strong investor interest from the UAE, UK, Far East, the US and Russia. The developer also plans to expand into six countries including Georgia, Tanzania, Morocco, India and Egypt and increase its investment portfolio over the next 10 years to US$13bn. RAK Properties has already secured three sites in Georgia for residential, commercial and hospitality projects.

Saraya Holdings

Jordan-based Saraya Holdings, established in 2005, is a real estate development and asset management company investing in the travel and tourism industries in the MENA region. Through its subsidiaries, Saraya has invested in Saraya Aqaba, currently being developed in Aqaba on the shores of the Red Sea, Jordan.

Saraya Aqaba will commence operations in 2009, adding approximately 1.5km of beachfront to the Gulf of Aqaba. The project comprises approximately 617,000 sq ft of master planned development combining shopping, dining, entertainment, freehold accommodation and cultural activities within the context of an authentically styled ancient city. The approximate total cost of the project is US$1bn.

The group's four other projects, the US$1.4bn Saraya Islands in Ras Al Khaimah, Saraya Bandar Jissah, near Muscat, Saraya Dead Sea in Jordan and Saraya Aktau on the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan, are at various stages of development.

Through strategic partnerships with public and private sectors, Saraya aims to provide all facilities and services that a modern touristic city offers; including premium hotels, retail, entertainment, leisure and sport facilities, superb residential units while preserving the natural environment and local cultures.
Saraya Holdings will also launch ‘Saraya Aviation'; a private jet charter operation which is designed to cater for large corporations as well as government officials, visitors and businessmen. Saraya's fleet will fly short and long distance trips from any destination in the Middle East, North African and Europe, and is scheduled to begin operations in June 2008.

Schon Properties

Schon Properties is the developer behind the US$80m Dubai Lagoon and US$200m Schon Business Park. The firm was established in 2005 after which it launched its two freehold developments in Dubai Investments Park.

The company has launched other ventures under the Schon umbrella including a private airline, a bank, knitwear factories and an oil refinery. The developer is focused on individual projects, as opposed to sub-developments on bigger projects.

The Dubai Lagoon project offers unique residential units, while the Schon Business Park will comprise 410 offices, accommodating up to 4,000 employees. The project will be made up of 53 buildings, including studios, single, double and triple bedrooms and penthouse apartments. The Schon Business Park is the first business park of its kind located in the Dubai Investment Park and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2009.

According to the firm, the Schon Business Park was launched on July 8, 2007 and leased out nearly 75% of its commercial space within a week. The company attributes the high demand to its incorporation of office, residential, retail and recreational areas all at the site, and its close proximity to Dubai World Central, Jebel Ali Free Zone, and the Jebel Ali International Airport.


Abu Dhabi-based Sorouh was established in 2005 with a capital of US$68bn and now lists on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market with a market cap close to US$3b. The company has approximately 55,000 shareholders.

The CEO of the company is Mounir Haidar. Sorouh is estimated to have US$10bn of projects under development including its flagship project, the Shams Abu Dhabi on Al Reem Island. Shams Abu Dhabi is a US$6.8bn project which will become a new city with homes for 60,000 people.

Sourouh Real Estate is also preparing to launch Al Ghadeer, a new development at Saih As Sidirah, located on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi border. The infrastructure of phase one of the project is expected to be ready by 2010. Al Ghadeer is a self-sustaining mixed-use development, offering a range of recreational, commercial, educational and social amenities.

The project will be located over 3 million sq m in area, and comprises apartments, townhouses and villas. The developer's other projects include the Gate District in Shams Abu Dhabi, which includes the 74 storey Sky Tower.

Sorouh is also developing the Golf Gardens on the Abu Dhabi Championship Course, the Abu Dhabi Aviation Authority residential project, the Al-Shamkha national housing project, the Tala Tower and Saraya on the Abu Dhabi Corniche. Sorouh employs about 140 professionals operating in the field of master-planning and master-development.


Established in 1991 as a company with a number of business interests, Tamweel has already developed US$11bn worth of construction projects across the region. In June this year the company sales hit US$327m for just one month.

Building big is Tamweel's mantra with large-scale city developments as the norm. The US$8.2bn Al Salam City will be the first complete city ever to be built by one developer. This city within a city in Dubai will cover more than 67 million sq m and will accommodate up to 500,000 people. It will be completed in three phases, each one expected to take five years. The first phase will include the development of the infrastructure of the whole city including the "Downtown" area, which will include a hotel tower, 20 towers of 20-25 floors and the first residential district of 1,000 residential villas.

It's not the first city-sized development the company has been commissioned, it has already completed a 2 million sq Modern Industrial City in the emirate of Umm Al Quwain. Incorporating commercial industries such as retail areas, labour camps, warehouses and factories this is the first of many planned projects throughout the Middle East in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Jordan.

Just months ago it completed the design and master plan of Madinat Al Majd in Jordan, an integrated residential development worth approximately US$350m. Designed by Sigma Consulting Engineers, the development will include 15,000 residential units together with 70% of apartments, villas and semi-villas designated for limited income groups. The first phase of the infrastructure is already completed.

Tanmiyat Group

Saudi-based Tanmiyat Group is an investment and real estate developer for the Middle East region.

Tanmiyat was established in 1982 and currently has a range of projects being developed across the Middle East, including in KSA, the UAE, Turkey, Jordan and Sudan.

In Dubai, the firm is developing the US$3b Ajman Marina project which is to be constructed on an area of 240,000 sq m and will comprise restaurants, hotels, entertainment facilities, residential towers and offices. The Ajman Marina project will put 8,000 residential units on the market and is being constructed in two phases over the next five years.

Ajman Marina has been designed to become a mixed-use project focused on business, tourism, residential and commercial components. Tanmiyat is also behind the Living Legends project in Dubailand; the US$27m Commercial Heights in Business Bay, and the Al Khalidiyah and Al Mohamadiyah.projects in Saudi Arabia.The group is diversifying into other sectors including insurance, Islamic financing, healthcare, brokerage, media, and industrial projects.


Launched in December 2005, Tatweer is the strategic and operational driver of a selected group of Dubai Holding entities that develop Dubai markets.

Its portfolio is divided into real estate, energy and healthcare, tourism, entertainment and industry.

Its high-profile projects include the Tiger Woods Dubai complex, Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai Energy, Dubailand, Bawadi, Global Village, Dubai Industrial City, Mizin, Bawadi, Moutamarat and the Dubai Mercantile Exchange.

Bawadi is a flagship development for Tatweer, and is a joint venture between Bawadi and Emaar.

Bawadi is intended to be the longest chain of luxury hotels in the world along a 10 kilometre stretch which will add 51 luxury hotels and more than 60,000 rooms to Dubai. A highlight of the development will be the 6,500-room Asia Asia Hotel & Resort.

The US$16.4bn project will be a signature development by the joint venture with equal equity participation by Bawadi and Emaar. Bawadi will contribute 70 million square feet of land valued at US$1bn in lieu of its ownership interest. Emaar will contribute US$1b in cash to the joint venture over the construction period to finance the project build.

Union Properties

Union Properties was established in 1987 and floated as a public company in 1993.

The principal activities of the company are property investment and development, the management and maintenance of its own properties including the operation of its cold stores, and the undertaking of property related services on behalf of other parties.

In 1987, Union Properties net assets were worth US$270,000, and by 2006 the company represented an annual turnover of more than US$680m, with net assets of more than US$1.2bn and projects under construction worth US$3.5bn.

With more than 24 projects, the company has created a portfolio of iconic landmarks in commercial, residential and leisure developments, from high-rise towers to multi-use complexes, hotels and theme parks; including The Tower, the Green Community, Uptown Mirdiff, Net.community, Index, Limestone House and MotorCity.

Union also owns 81% of Thermo, which is engaged in mechanical and electrical contracting activities and facilities management services.

Al Aqili

When Al Aqili first launched it had just two offices, six international brands and only 10 employees. Now 10 years later it is the region's largest flooring and interior solutions company with more than 50 international brands. Last year alone it supplied over 2 million sq m of flooring.

The brand has grown into a multi-faceted company following the launch of a number of divisions which cater for the residential, commercial and hospitality industries. Carpet Land, Rugland, BeLight LLC, Crestwood Interiors LLC and Office Land all come under the Al Aqili umbrella.

The Design Division Office offers complete design solutions to design concepts in the flooring industry and Crestwood Interiors LLC is an interior design firm which specialises in commercial interior design projects as well as furniture and exhibition stand design. Its lighting department provides a large variety of lighting solutions while Office Land provides mid to high end office furniture. Other divisions include Italian manufacturer Francesco Molon and Bretz of Turkey.

Since its inception the company has landed a number of landmark contracts including the US$1.6m deal awarded by LCL Interiors to supply of 24,000 sq m of Fabrica carpets to Dubai Mall serviced apartments - the deal was the largest single order the manufacturer has ever received. It was also recently awarded a US$4.7m contract for phase two and three of the Al Raha Gardens, residential villas in Abu Dhabi.


Dubai's Depa United Group is an interiors contracting company specialising in full scope fit-out and furnishing of luxury hotels and facilities. It is based in Dubai with branches in Milan, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi.

In 2006 it won a US$163.4m contract to fit out 899 apartments in Emaar Properties' Burj Dubai, currently the world's tallest building. Other previous projects in Depa's portfolio include the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the Ritz Carlton, the Grand Hyatt and the Fairmont.

Depa has won contracts for interior design in hotels located in North Africa, Europe, USA, and Japan.

Currently the group is planning to raise US$400m in an initial public offering (IPO) next year to fund growth, and list the shares on an as yet unannounced foreign exchange. Depa aims to sell the shares in the first quarter of next year. The company also intends to use the funds to finance acquisitions, including suppliers.

LW Design

It would be easier to find a hotel or development in Dubai that hasn't been touched by LW Design rather than the other way around. LW Design boasts more than 60 restaurants in its portfolio and has at least five hotel projects on its drawing boards at any one time. To name but a few, LW Design has worked on the Emirates Towers, Grosvenor House, Shangri-La, Emirates Golf Club as well as the recently opened Raffles Hotel. Its come a long way since starting out in a villa on Dubai's Jumeirah Beach Road.

Its headquarters in a purpose-built complex on the Sheikh Zayed Road. The group was conceived in 1999 as an interior design practice. In 2003 it expanded into architecture, opening its doors for graphics in 2005 and in 2006 it introduced its engineering division.

Two of the company's first projects in 2000 were the design of the Rotana Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi and the Emirates Golf Club, both of which led to many other projects and cemented a relationship with the Rotana Group. But it was its work at Grosvenor House which was a real benchmark for the company and brought in a number of other projects.

The Missoni Hotel is an example of all the disciplines coming together in one project through architecture and interior design. The group even provided the F&B consultants.

Currently on the drawing boards is The Avari Hotel in Islamabad; the Rotana Hotel in Kuwait; the Radisson Park in Riyadh; Emirates Park Tower Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road; the second Grosvenor House; Al Masa Tower; the Bonnington Hotel in Jumeirah Lakes development; the refurbishment of Al Bustan Rotana and Media One Tower in Media City as well as a project in Central London.


The international design consultant, Arup, has been working in the Middle East since the 1970s but only returned to the Gulf with permanent offices in Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi in 2005. Arup's skills are varied and focus on business sectors such as transport and infrastructure, hotels, sports and leisure, education, airports, tall buildings and master-planning.

It may have only been permanent in the region for a short time but it can already boast major projects such as Festival City, the rejuvenation of Khalifa Stadium in Doha, Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi and Business Bay Signature Towers in Dubai.

Arup completed the design concept design for Zaha Hadid's twisted towers in Business Bay. The three towers which complete Signature Towers include one 75-storey office development, one 65-storey hotel and a 55-storey residential. The Arup project team carried out a study of the site to find the optimum alignment for the towers, formerly known as the Dancing Towers.

The company is currently working with Hadid on a similar design for a development in Dublin: a residential tower with a core surrounded by eight rectangles which translate outwards, giving a splintering effect. It is also working on the design of the new Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For Dubai Festival City, Zone 8, Arup was part of the team which prepared the design for the 70 000 sq m retail park. They are providing fire, micro-climate, acoustics, vertical transport and waste management logistics expertise. Its innovative designs have also enabled the construction of a 2,300 space car park beneath Al Reem Island's landscape park and the canal development in Abu Dhabi.


Design Worldwide Partnership was established in 1984 and has since completed more than 2,000 projects across the world. Its Middle East offices are in Dubai and Bahrain and it provides integrated local and regional services specialising in architecture, interior design, facility planning and project management for hospitality projects as well as residential from its offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Vietnam and India.

Run by husband and wife team, Karen and Richard Hay, DWP has been busy since its establishing itself in the Middle East. "It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride that has only gone up and has yet to come down the other side, " says interior designer and executive director, Karen Hay. It may have only been in the region for a short time but already DWP Dubai is responsible for designing the interiors for the Zaha Hadid-designed Signature Towers and is in talks with hotel designs on Nakheel's World project. The firm can also list ongoing design projects for Crowne Plaza in Kuwait, Traders Hotel in Abu Dhabi, for the Shangri-La group as well as a string of Iranian restaurants.

Architecturally DWP Dubai is responsible for "Zero Five Five", a 68 metre high residential apartment block at the Dubai Waterfront. Zero Five Five comprises 269 units of studios, single bed duplexes, two bed duplexes and penthouse apartments as well as a swimming pool, 270 car parking spaces, a landscaped roof and a landscaped podium.

The company also has offices in Bahrain where prestigious projects include the Arab Banking Corporation, refurbishment work at the Regency Intercontinental Hotel covering standard rooms, corridors, public spaces and food and beverage outlets; The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel & Spa's recreation areas; Somerset serviced apartments comprising 114 units; Kuwait Finance House's Automall and the Bahrain Mumtalak at Holding Company.

Ian Banham & Associates

Established in 1976, Ian Banham & Associates (IBA) provides professional mechanical and electrical engineering services throughout the Gulf, and now has offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Bahrain, Bangalore and an associated office in Oman. Having worked on more than 1,300 projects over the years, the company has been involved in high-profile projects such as the Sky Tower in Abu Dhabi, worth US$354m, The Towers in Business Bay US$409m and the Emirates Headquarters building in Dubai worth US$163 million.

The 83-storey high Sky Tower is the world's 15th tallest tower and the tallest in Abu Dhabi. Located on Al Reem Island and part of The Gate District, Sky Tower is poised to be the first in the UAE to achieve certification under the US Green Building LEED rating system.

Sobha Group

The India-based Sobha Group has operations in Doha, Dubai, Bahrain, Germany and the USA. Sobha UAE has been behind the implementation of a range of interiors, including the Sphinx Restaurant and the Pyramids Health Club at the Wafi Centre.

Sobha Group has had a presence in the Middle East since the 1970s, when chairman, PNC Menon established the Services and Trade Group in Oman, specialising in interiors outfitting and as a contractor for other developers in the region.

The group has interests in real estate development, civil and MEP contracting, factories for aluminium, façade glazing, joinery and concrete products and is expanding into the Middle East real estate market, with its own commercial and residential properties.

The company has two commercial projects under development within the Business Bay district, both of which are already sold out. Each of the two commercial towers, Ivory I and Ivory II at Business Bay offers 15 storeys of office space.

The Sobha Group expects to have announced a portfolio of more than US$54m by the middle of 2008 which will include another development in Business Bay, developments on the Palm Jebel Ali and a residential development in the Jumeirah Village.


ALEC is a Dubai and Abu Dhabi-based contractor which was founded in 1999 as a partnership between Abu Dhabi based Al Jaber and South African based Grinaker-LTA. Now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Al Jaber group, ALEC's primary focus is the construction of resort hotels, retail developments high rise buildings and airports.

ALEC has constructed landmark projects such as Madinat Jumeirah and Mina Al Salam hotels in Dubai, and is the first client to lease 21,500 sq ft in the first of the four office buildings at Dubai Industrial City.

ALEC is also building a construction manufacturing facility of more than 400,000 sq ft area in the machinery and mechanical equipment zone.

The company recently won two major contracts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The first is the US$176m contract to build the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort & Spa in Liwa, Abu Dhabi, with the second a US$136m extension to the company's current contract at Dubai Marina Mall and Hotel. The Dubai project involves the construction of Marina Plaza, a stand-alone office tower that will be linked to the completed Dubai Marina Mall.

Meanwhile, ALEC is yet to hear the outcome of its bid for the US$186m contract to build the Mall of Arabia at the City of Arabia development in Dubailand.


A leader in the construction industry, Arabtec Construction LLC, established in the UAE in 1975, has a client list which reads like the who's who of the construction industry in the region. The company boasts a large multinational workforce in excess of 37,000, of which has built some of the region's most impressive and iconic structures. Past projects include Jumeirah Beach Residence, 21st Century Tower, Emirates Hills, the Burj Al Arab, Dubai World Trade Centre as well as a number of palaces.

Current projects include the joint venture between Arabtec Construction and Bel Hasa Six Construct to build Lake View Hotel for Emaar. The US$197m contract includes the construction of the 300m high hotel and serviced apartments on the Burj Dubai development. The 32 month project will include the construction of a 63 storey, five-star facility with four basements and offering 194 rooms, 625 furnished apartments and associated leisure and car parking facilities.

Other ongoing projects include Gate Village at Dubai International Financial Centre and Arabian Ranches, an 18 month project consisting of 277 Spanish type villas and Sky Gardens, also at the Dubai International Financial Centre. The US$136m project will be the DIFC's first high-rise residential block. The 21 month project includes the construction of 47-storey tower block being developed on a 6000 sq m plot of land. It will include around 575 studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments and penthouses. The development will include five separate gardens, punctuating the ascending floors.

Bin Laden Group

The Bin Laden Group is represented in most Saudi cities including Riyadh and Damman as well as a number of capital cities in the region; Beirut, Cairo, Amman and Dubai. Founded in 1950 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Laden, the company was awarded the several lucrative government contracts such as refurbishing the shrines at Mecca and Medina.

In 2002, the company had 35,000 employees worldwide, and an estimated value of US$5bn.

The group recently signed a US$34.5m contract to build road works for Emaar's Economic City project. The project, to be completed within seven months, covers the construction of a 13km road from the KAEC main gate to the Bay La Sun Village residential community. The road links the development to the Bay La Sun Village, a fully-integrated residential community overlooking the Red Sea.

The long stretch of road that leads to the Red Sea will be supported by electricity and other ancillary services. It will also connect the various amenities at Bay La Sun Village such as leisure and retail outlets, mosques, medical centres and community areas.

Most recently the company was one of five contracts to be signed for the operation and maintenance of regional and local airports in Saudi Arabia. In a consortium with Saudi Service Co, the Bin Laden Group signed a US$4,195,793 contract for various works at the airports of Al Baha, Taif, Rabigh, Yanbu and the headquarters of the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA).

Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC)

With US$4.16bn made in revenue last year and more than 140,000 employees, CCC is one of the world's largest contractors and the region's largest multinational. Originally established in Lebanon CCC continues to run its business from its headquarters in Greece following its move during the Lebanese Civil War. It maintains its European and Asian markets and generates 80% of its revenue from MENA countries.

CCC has a worldwide presence with projects in Algeria, Libya, Nigeria, Egypt, Yemen as well as the UAE. Projects include Dubai Mall, which is being developed with Dutco Balfour Beatty and others, Zayed Sports City and Jumeirah Bay Towers. Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping centre covering 5 million sq ft - the size of 50 international football pitches - is due for completion next year. The mall is expected to receive more than 35 million visitors in its first full year of business and the figure is expected to rise by 20-30%.

CCC aims to double its revenue by expanding its projects such as the US$900m Karachaganak gas project in Kazakhstan. It also has developments in the Yemeni GSM operator Sabafon, as well as the joint venture bidding with Japan's Marubeni Corporation and US-based BTU ventures for the purchase of a 51% stake in the Central Electricity Company, CECO.

Iraqi Consultants and Construction Bureau

Formed initially to facilitate the reconstruction programme in Iraq, (ICCB) manages US$300m worth of reconstruction projects. ICCB's turnover from July 2003- January 2007 was in excess of US$350m.

The group has now established an office in Arbil due to its current and future involvement in operations within Kurdistan. Since its inception in 2003, ICCB has undergone considerate expansion and currently employs 60 local engineers plus 200 supporting staff. ICCB is an engineering organisation, with construction capabilities and an in-house design division to undertake design-and-build projects. The organisation includes an engineering department, encompassing civil, architectural, mechanical, and electrical and systems engineering.

ICCB's involvement in Iraq started in the successful rehabilitation of 75 schools in 2003.

It has since completed a 400kV overhead tower line reconstruction at Baghdad-South and Baghdad-East, and also the reconstruction of the Dibis to Arbil 132kV lines. It is also heavily involved in setting-up a work-camp for equipping Baghdad International Airport with modern communications and instrumentation. The group has invested heavily in infrastructure and machinery in the past 12 months.

Saudi Oger Ltd

Established in 1978 in Saudi Arabia this private construction company is owned wholly by the Rafic Hariri Family. Since its inception it has grown into a multi-faceted company with subsidiaries and affiliates in Saudi Arabia and abroad including real estate development, telecommunication and utilities.

Saudi Oger's Construction Divisions offer a complete range of construction services. These include design concepts, construction operation and management of many of the most prestigious and technically advanced building projects. The construction activities comprise two divisions, private project construction division which undertakes projects in prestigious and government complexes and the General Projects Construction Division which undertakes a wide variety of major projects.

Saudi Oger is to construct three lanes of the King Abdullah Road in Riyadh in a deal worth US$186.9m. The project will include three tunnels each 185 metres long and a closed tunnel of 700 metres as well as a network of public utility facilities such as water, electricity, sewage and rain water drainage. Saudi Oger will also build residences in Emaar's King Abdullah Economic City in a deal worth US$132m.

The company has an exclusive relationship with Saraya Holdings for the construction and development of Saraya Aqaba, Saraya Dead Sea and Saraya Islands in Ras Al Khaimah. It is also the major contractor and developer of the new Down Town Amman with strategic partnership with Abdali Investment and Development PSC.


Atkins is the lead designer on the Dubai Metro Red and Green Lines, currently regarded as the world's largest transport infrastructure project under design and construction. With a project value of US$3.7bn, the first two lines of the Dubai Metro comprise 74.5 km of track, 10 underground and 34 above ground stations, and 3 maintenance depots.

The Red Line is scheduled for completion in 2009. Atkins' role to date has been the design management and co-ordination of all civil works such as the tunnels, viaducts and bridges, stations, depots, track alignment, highways and utilities diversions, and co-ordination of other associated works such as landscape, fire and ventilation, signalling, rolling stock and power.

Additionally, after reviewing the original design of Trump International Hotel and Tower, Palm Jumeirah, Atkins created a brand new architectural concept which was subsequently approved by Nakheel Hotel and Resorts and the Trump Organisation.

Atkins is now appointed to provide full design consultancy services for this hotel, which is located on Nakheel's Palm Jumeirah.

From its regional head office in Dubai, UAE. Atkins Middle East employs over 2000 staff located in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and India.

With revenues of US$2.6b, Atkins is the world's fifth largest design firm.

Zaha Hadid Architects

Iraqi-born, British citizen Zaha Hadid and her namesake architect firm are responsible for some of the most groundbreaking designs in the past decade. Hadid was the first female recipient of the architecture award, the Pritzker Prize and is credited with pushing the boundaries of architecture. Her work is synonymous with new spatial concepts emphasising existing urban landscapes aiming to achieve the visual aesthetic that encompasses all fields of design.

Some of her projects include a fire station for the Vitra Furniture Company in Weil-am-Rhein on the German-Swiss border and a ski jump situated on the Bergisel Mountain overlooking Innsbruck, Austria. Hadid's most notorious project, though, was the 1994 competition-winning design for the Cardiff Bay Opera House, which was abandoned by the Millennium Commission after noisy opposition from local lobbyists, particularly Cardiff politicians wary of highbrow architecture being "imposed" on a Welsh city by London.

Slowly her radical work has been adopted, even by her adopted home, Britain where her most recently completed projects include Maggies Centre, a cancer care centre in Scotland and a mixed-use development in Hoxton, London.

Closer to home Hadid is responsible for the design of the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre. The 62 metre high building will house five theatres - a music hall, concert hall, opera house and a flexible theatre with a combined seating capacity for 6,300. Hadid is the woman behind the Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi which will link Abu Dhabi Island with the mainland, including Dubai and the international airport.

Gehry Partners

Established by Frank Gehry in Los Angeles in1962, Gehry Partners has designed some of the most iconic buildings of this century. Every project undertaken is personally designed and directed by Gehry himself. His most famous building is the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain, described by Time Magazine as "The Building of the Century." Other well known works include Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic, and his private residence in Santa Monica, California, which jump-started his career.

Gehry is bringing his work to this region through the design of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum on Saadiyat Island. At more than 320,000 sq ft this will be the world's largest Guggenheim museum and has been designed to accommodate approximately 130,000 sq ft of exhibition space. Expected to cost around US$27bn this mixed commercial, residential and leisure project is due for completion in 2018. "It was clear from the beginning that this had to be a new invention," says Gehry.

"The landscape, the opportunity, the requirement, to build something that people all over the world would come to and the possible resource to accomplish it opened tracks that were not likely to be considered anywhere else. The site itself, virtually on the water or close to the water on all sides, in a desert landscape with the beautiful sea and the light quality of the place suggested some of the direction," says Gehry on his concept design.

Cansult Maunsell

One of the largest engineering consulting firms in the Gulf, Cansult Maunsell has a huge portfolio of projects including the Al Raha Beach Development, the Abu Dhabi Trade Centre, Danet Abu Dhabi and the district cooling system for the US$3.5bn Dubai Metro.

Cansult Maunsell's portfolio includes project management and engineering with a focus on transportation, buildings, infrastructure, and urban developments.

Formed in October 2006 when it merged with the AECOM family of companies to join with Maunsell operations in the Middle East, the company now has more than 1,500 employees in offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Doha and Al Ain as well as its headquarters in Ontario. Prior to the merger, Cansult Maunsell and Maunsell were both recognised as two of the region's leading engineering consulting firms, both with more than 40 years of service in the Gulf. The end result is more than US$60m in annual revenue and projects across the Gulf.

Current work includes the construction supervision and engineering of Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi as well the US$970m Ain Khalid project in Qatar. Consult Maunsell will design the 11km long avenue of mixed-used commercial property which will cover an area of over 800,000 sq m.

Dutco Balfour Beatty

Dutco Balfour Beatty is a civil engineering and building joint venture in Dubai, which is involved with the Burj Mall, The Palm Island Interchange and Sheikh Zayed road widening projects, the Business Bay Development, the Dubai Festival City and the Royal Airwing at Dubai Airport. Dutco Balfour Beatty was formally incorporated in 1984, following the completion of the US$4bn Jebel Ali Port project for the government of Dubai. Dutco Balfour Beatty is now a leading civil, heavy civil and marine contractor in the UAE.

Dutco Balfour Beatty is based within the Dutco Group complex in Jebel Ali, and has previously completed major heavy civil engineering projects including power stations, roads, bridges, reservoirs, high-rise and speciality buildings, airport infrastructure and port development.

The firm employs close to 3,000 people and has also completed major heavy civil engineering projects including airport access roads and parking at Dubai International Airport, quay, wall works and offsite improvements for Dubai Port Authority at Jebel Ali Port and a complete civil and marine works package for the Burj Al Arab Hotel.

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