Emaar takes the global challenge; award-winning Dubai estate agent Emaar Properties has set its sights on new markets locally and in neighbouring North African and Asia. But it won't stop there, writes Alexandra Dubsky in Dubai.

Author:Dubsky, Alexandra

DUBAI, THE CITY OF SUPERLATIVES, has clearly found its archetypal commercial organisation in Emaar Properties, the local property giant which last year turned into the number one real estate company worldwide in terms of market capitalisation.

The award-winning conglomerate (Emaar has been voted best overall UAE developer and best residential developer by Euromoney two years consecutively) has recently started to heavily expand into other industry sectors besides real estate--namely hospitality, leisure, retail, education, finance and healthcare.

At its recent eighth annual general meeting, Emaar's chairman Mohamed Ali Alabbar said: "Today, we have a new vision of Emaar, the vision 2010. By then, Emaar will be one of the most valuable companies in the world beyond property development, irrespective of business activity. Our mission is to deliver world-class products and services in every chosen field of business."

He added, "Moreover, we commit to deliver on a global basis, beyond Dubai, in the GCC, in Europe, Asia and the US. By 2010, Emaar will be an international brand name that is synonymous to excellence across diverse business activities and across the world."

Cyrille Pitavy, general manager of a Dubai-based real estate company who has 22 years international real estate experience, pointed out that Emaar's success is due to Dubai's rapid pace of development and its ideal strategic location. "The government of Dubai is building a world city within 20 years, which would have taken centuries in Europe or the US. Emaar is the leading developer of Dubai, and has therefore a massive business advantage and has, moreover, managed to gain a profound reputation in recent years. Any sector Emaar wants to develop will generate money, since Dubai is a new country that needs to strengthen the private sector.

He added: "Thanks to its fortunate location in the centre of the Middle East and South Asia, it is easy for Emaar to expand into these emerging markets, which are experiencing rapid economic development combined with high population growth.

Emaar, which earlier this year announced record annual profits of some $1.3bn for 2005 that translates into a net profit increase of 180%, declared a total cash commitment of some $4.9bn for this year at the AGM.

The company has also announced it will enter the healthcare business in the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and South Asia with an investment of some $5bn. The plan includes construction of...

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