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Emaar to sell hotels, clinics and schools as it looks to raise $1.4bn in funds

Move likely to be about raising capital to strengthen the balance sheet, expert says

Emaar Properties, the Dubai-based developer, has said that it is planning to sell hotels, clinics and schools as it looks to raise $1.4 billion in funds through the sale of non-core assets.

Citing senior sources, a report by the Financial Times said that Emaar was closing in on a deal with several interested parties. Dubai’s real estate sector is one of its main economic drivers, but it has been hit hard by a slump in regional demand following a fall in oil prices since 2014.

“This has to be about raising capital to strengthen the balance sheet,” said a banker quoted in the FT report. “This is not the market environment you would want to sell assets in if you were being opportunistic,” he added.

In a statement, the developer said that it ‘regularly considered various financing options to streamline its business’. The company added that it was looking to raise about $700 million through the sale of its hotel portfolio, except for two prime properties.

Emaar is also looking to sell clinics and schools across its communities, at a prospective value of $700 million, the FT report added. It said that Standard Chartered Bank has been hired to carry out the sale process, citing the sources.

In an interview with CNBC Arabia on July 17, 2018, Mohamed Alabbar acknowledged that Emaar Hospitality Group would sell part of its portfolio to focus on hotel management, and that the unit was still looking to list its own shares.

He added that this could be possible within four years.

“It is the start of expanding into the hospitality sector,” Alabbar said during the interview. “We have to focus on the issue of management and hotel management contracts like other global brands such as Hilton and Marriot.”

He did not confirm which properties would be sold, nor did he specify the amount that the company plans to raise. He also did not put a timeline on when the sales would happen, or if there were any interested buyers.

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