SINGAPORE is wooing investments from the Middle East, as companies and individuals from the oil-rich region expand their presence in the Republic.
Government bodies such as the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Singapore Tourism Board and the Building and Construction Authority have joined a host of other groups to showcase what Singapore has to offer at Cityscape Dubai, a major international real estate event starting today.
It will be the first time a Singapore pavilion has been set up at a top international property event in the Middle East.
The URA will speak about Singapore’s strong economic growth in various sectors, including real estate, real estate investment trusts and other investment opportunities.
There are more than 250 Middle East companies operating in Singapore, as well as an increasing number of individuals and equity funds from the region investing in mega development projects in the Republic.
Foreign direct investment from the Middle East grew from $5.8 billion in 2004 to $6.6 billion in 2005, the most recent year for data, according to the Statistics Department.
Based on caveats lodged, individual Middle East investors bought 34 homes worth $76 million in Singapore from 2004 to Sept 28. About 47 per cent of these deals were closed this year.
Meanwhile, Al-Nibras Islamic Real Estate Fund bought 56 homes in the Reflections at Keppel Bay project earlier this year.
The URA attended the Dubai event last year and pitched investment opportunities to investors, including the Istithmar Group. This is owned by Dubai World consortium, whose assets include the famed Palm in Dubai.
Istithmar has now teamed up with Singapore developer City Developments and the North American-based El-Ad Group to develop an office, hotel, retail and residential project worth an estimated $2.7 billion in Beach Road.
The URA said several Middle East investors had also indicated interest in sale sites that the agency has launched.
At the Dubai event, the URA will showcase Marina Bay, Singapore’s future downtown, which has attracted about $15 billion worth of international investment so far.
Other Singapore groups involved in the Singapore pavilion include the Ong & Ong architecture firm and the Singapore Institute of Architects, while upcoming developments Somerset Central and the Marina Bay Financial Centre will also be showcased.
Source: The Straits Times 16 Oct 07