Dubai: Meydan inks Dh700m bank financing deal

The Meydan Group is tapping Commercial Bank International (CBI) for a Dh700 million revolving project financing facility that will go towards building more than 1,500 villas for Emirates Group in Meydan City. The loan tenor is for eight years and structured in a way to keep the ''interest rate lower than the prevailing market rates'', according to a senior Meydan official.

It was last year that Meydan entered its first financing deal with CBI, which is the local affiliate of Qatar National Bank and in which it has a 40 per cent stake. The value of that loan arrangement was not revealed at the time, but market sources reckon it to be ''much higher'' than the Dh700 million signed up yesterday.

''It was two years ago that Emirates Group bought 528 villas at Meydan, of which we have delivered 306 and the rest in the next two months,'' said Saeed Humaid Al Tayer, Meydan's chairman and CEO. ''The latest deal will see a further 1,500 plus villas, taking the total to 2,028. Emirates plans to use them for their pilots as they keep adding substantial aircraft numbers to their existing fleet.

''Simultaneously, Meydan and Emirates will explore whether further properties can be developed along the same lines.'' Based on construction timelines, 500 villas in the new tranche are to be delivered by March next and the rest in five phases over a further 24-month period.

The first of the Emirates' villas will be ready for occupation shortly. A senior Meydan official said it is unlikely that the master-developer would go for similar arrangements with other big corporate entities in Dubai.

''This is a one-off and reflects the deep relationship between Emirates and Meydan, with the airline being a key sponsor of the races,'' said Meghnad Warrier, vice-president for finance and investment at Meydan Group. ''However, there are other deals we have accommodated at Meydan, such as the one with Emirates NBD for three commercial properties, where up to 1,400 members of its staff will work.

''There's also DHL which is finishing one of key logistics hub in Meydan — and the rationale behind that was to have a facility equidistant between the new and the old airports. Many investors have been approaching us given the realisation that Meydan now occupies a most strategic location in Dubai.''

While the races have already given Meydan optimum global exposure, the master-developer's blueprint is to raise its status as a fully-fledged commercial and residential destination anchored by leisure and entertainment options. Several elements of the game plan is taking shape, either through Meydan directly or through sub-developers such as Sobha Group and G&Co.

Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor,


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