Dubai construction sector 'fundamental' to emirate's future

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    KEY DRIVERS: The Dubai Metro and Burj Dubai will ensure the future of the construction industry, say experts. (Getty Images)
    KEY DRIVERS: The Dubai Metro and Burj Dubai will ensure the future of the construction industry, say experts. (Getty Images)

    The emirate of Dubai remained in a good position to move forward through the global financial crisis, thanks largely to its construction and real estate industries, experts were reported as saying on Saturday.

    A number of fundamentals were in place that would pull the emirate through the worst of the ensuing credit crunch, experts from the property sector told Construction Week.

    These included visionary governement-led construction projects such as the Dubai Metro and Emaar’s Burj Dubai, which were seen as vital to the future of the emirate, according to Moody’s senior credit officer Khalid Howlader. 

    “No one is going to take developments such as those away,” he said.

    “Dubai has some strong fundamentals. It is already established, and is a legitimate player going forwards,” added Jones Lang Lasalle regional director for Mena Ian Ohan.

    The “dynamism” of the government would “allow for a quicker turnaround” once banks were able to resume lending again, Howlader noted.

    Furthermore, the pressure on poorly equipped firms, some of which may be forced into bankruptcy as a result of the financial crisis, would also be good for the construction industry in the long run, added Stephen Ashford, group development director for Omniyat Properties.

    “Already it’s a good thing. It’s forcing companies to reassess business methods and professionalise in a way that can only be good for Dubai,” he said at the Cityscape Connect Business Breakfast meeting in Dubai on Wednesday.

    But, Ashworth warned further challenges remained ahead.

    “We have seen a large repatriation from emerging markets,” he said.

    “This will fundamentally change the Dubai real estate outlook for the short-term.”

    Almas Capital managing director Barmak Besharaty also warned against looking to the refinancing of debt as a means of recovery.

    “If we continue to say that debt is the solution, we need to remember that debt became the problem,” he added.

    “No one is going to take developments such as those away,” he said.

    “Dubai has some strong fundamentals. It is already established, and is a legitimate player going forwards,” added Jones Lang Lasalle regional director for Mena Ian Ohan.

    The “dynamism” of the government would “allow for a quicker turnaround” once banks were able to resume lending again, Howlader noted.

    Furthermore, the pressure on poorly equipped firms, some of which may be forced into bankruptcy as a result of the financial crisis, would also be good for the construction industry in the long run, added Stephen Ashford, group development director for Omniyat Properties.

    “Already it’s a good thing. It’s forcing companies to reassess business methods and professionalise in a way that can only be good for Dubai,” he said at the Cityscape Connect Business Breakfast meeting in Dubai on Wednesday.

    But, Ashworth warned further challenges remained ahead.

    “We have seen a large repatriation from emerging markets,” he said.

    “This will fundamentally change the Dubai real estate outlook for the short-term.”

    Almas Capital managing director Barmak Besharaty also warned against looking to the refinancing of debt as a means of recovery.

    “If we continue to say that debt is the solution, we need to remember that debt became the problem,” he added.

    by Jamie Stewart, Saturday, 21 March 2009, www.arabianbusiness.cm