UAE’s Arabtec shares soar on $40bn Egypt housing deal

Dubai construction firm is trading 2 percent higher after deal with Egypt’s powerful military leader

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Arabtec shares jumped by more than 2 percent at the beginning of trading on Monday, after the UAE construction firm said it had signed an agreement to build developments worth $40bn across Egypt.

Shares in the firm, which are traded in Dubai, had risen by 2.08 percent to Dh4.90 by 10.15am local time.

Arabtec said yesterday it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Egypt to build one million units of middle-income housing across 13 locations in Egypt.

The total value of the project was estimated at $40 billion and Arabtec said the deal would create over one million jobs for Egyptians.

The company said in a statement that its subsidiary Arabtec Real Estate would undertake the project in phases over a span of five years. “The developments will be funded, in the most part, by a number of Egyptian and foreign banks,” it said.

Construction work is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of this year, with units delivered between 2017 and 2020, Arabtec said.

The agreement was formalized yesterday at a ceremony attended by Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s army chief who is widely expected to run for president.

“This historic project will be a major boost to the Egyptian economy,” Hasan Abdullah Ismaik, Managing Director and CEO of Arabtec Holding, said in a statement.

Ismaik said the project “owes much” to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Sheikh Mohamed “has been very keen to mobilize all efforts to boost support to our brothers in Egypt through a multitude of humanitarian, economic and social initiatives,” Ismaik said in a statement.

The UAE along with Gulf allies Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have poured $12 billion of emergency packages into Egypt’s troubled economy since the ouster of former President Mohammad Mursi. Saudi Arabia and the UAE recently labeled the Muslim Brotherhood movement, from which Mursi hails, as a “terrorist” organization.

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