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by Executive Editors

Solidere shaken bypolitical uncertainty

Real estate behemoth Solidere released its 2011 results posting a net profit of $162.6 million, down 16.9 percent from the prior year when the company brought in $196.5 million. This significant drop reflects the overall slowing of the Lebanese real estate market, due mainly to political tensions in Lebanon and the armed uprising in Syria. The company’s real estate sales brought in $241.7 million last year, down from $337.2 million in 2010. Solidere emphasized that while profits dropped over the last year, it still holds 1.88 million square meters of land worth some $8 billion, in a market where property is scarce. “These results come despite the unstable domestic and regional situation which the country has passed through since the beginning of last year, and which had a negative impact on the economic, commercial and real estate activity,” the company said in the report. One bright spot in the report notes that Solidere pulled in a net profit of $49.9 million from its rental properties last year, marking an increase of 20.9 percent over the previous year. However, Solidere also forecast that the unstable regional political climate, as well as regional and global financial crises, could negatively affect the company’s profits for several more years. (See page 80)

Japan helps turn on the taps in Keserwan

A partnership deal with the Japanese government to supply communities in the Keserwan with drinking water was inaugurated in early June, though the completion date is still some months away. Named “Spring Strait”, the $102 million project is being built under the auspices of the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) and the Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) using a soft loan from Japan. According to the National News Agency, Minister of Energy and Water Gibran Bassil said, “We hope that what we have unanimously agreed upon recently in cabinet to act… so that we work together to face fear of aggression… which all Lebanese denounce. Let’s make the sound of water in Lebanon resound louder than the blare of bullets.” Also speaking at the event, president of the CDR, Nabil el-Jisr, said Spring Strait was one of the most important water development projects ever undertaken in Lebanon, according to a statement. When completed, Spring Strait will boast 13 pumping stations, nearly two-dozen distribution mains, and a four-kilometer tunnel to the sea.

Arkan nets $381 million loan

Abu Dhabi-based Arkan Building Material Company said in a late June statement that it had secured a $381.2 million loan with a six and a half-year maturity from several banks, including Union National Bank, First Gulf Bank and Emirates NBD, to help fund new projects and refinance existing debt. The company said the loan would help achieve “significant savings in interest cost for Arkan over the repayment period of the loan.” Abu Dhabi’s General Holding Corporation, a government entity, owns 51 percent of Arkan.

Nakheel goes big in first quarter

Dubai-based property developer Nakheel had a mediocre showing in the first quarter of 2011, when it posted a $9.8 million drop in profits over the same reporting period the previous year. But in the first quarter of 2012, the company has reported a profit of $98.6 million. Nakheel credited the gains to a commitment to keep overhead costs down on projects, as well as its surging retail and leasing holdings. In a statement, the company said, “The positive results of first quarter, following from the robust financial results achieved in the year 2011, continue to indicate a relatively more stable real estate market.”

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Executive Editors

Executive Editors are the collective voice of the magazine. Stories written by Executive Editors are the culmination of discussions, brainstorming, research and information-gathering by our editorial team. Over decades, our editorial team has applied a blend of seasoned expertise and a discerning eye to bring you insightful and engaging and substantive reads that eschew sensationalism.

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