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Mon 5 Oct 2009 02:37 PM

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Waha Capital eyes aquisitions of up to $1bn

Abu Dhabi-based firm is looking at the maritime, financial and leasing services sectors - CEO.

Abu Dhabi-based
Waha Capital

is looking at acquisitions of up to $1bn in the maritime, financial and leasing services sectors, Chief Executive Salem al-Noaimi said on Monday.

"From the maritime side, we are interested in a regional player, financial services would be regional and leasing would be global." Noaimi told Reuters in an interview at the Cityscape property exhibition in Dubai.

He declined to say when acquisitions might take place.

Waha

is also working on two structured finance deals for the United Arab Emirates' armed forces, Noaimi said, declining to give further details.

He said that the company's short-term funding was "fine".

He said the firm's real estate arm, Waha Land, was ahead of schedule on its AED16bn ($4.36bn) ALMARKAZ real estate development project launched in April, with construction expected to start by the end of 2009, rather than in the first quarter of 2010 as was previously expected.

Total build time remained at four years, Noami said.

The firm may consider moving into mid and low income housing projects, he said adding any plans were still in early stages.

"Abu Dhabi needs this," he said."

Waha Capital

's financial subsidiaries were considering setting up distressed property funds in the Gulf region.

"The medium and long-term upside is there today in the UAE," he said referring to the country's property sector.

"I think (for) people who can line up their financing, the deal flow is out there. People who are able to (do this) over the next three to six months should take advantage of it," he said.

In June, the firm said it would invest about $135m to buy a 50 percent stake in AerVenture, a unit of Dutch aircraft leasing firm.

Shares of
Waha

were up 2.08 percent at 0948 GMT, outperforming the Abu Dhabi exchange. (Reuters)

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