DUBAI World’s real estate arm, Limitless LLC, officially started operations at it new regional office here at UOB Plaza yesterday. It will use Singapore as a base to look for new investment opportunities here and in the region.
On route to Hanoi for the ground-breaking ceremony of its US$220 million Halong Star mixed development project in Vietnam, Limitless CEO Saeed Ahmed Saeed said yesterday: ‘Without doubt, South-east Asia is one of the most exciting and dynamic regions for Limitless. Its fast-growing economy presents us with endless opportunities to demonstrate our core skills of master planning large-scale, balanced projects and waterfront development.’
To date, Limitless, which was established in July 2005, has a portfolio of five real estate projects worth about US$100 billion. Three are in the Middle East, with the others in India and Vietnam.
Limitless has considered development sites in Singapore, including the first parcel at Marina View, although it decided not to put in a bid eventually.
‘We took strategic position on Marina View and decided it was not the right time to tender for it,’ said Philip Atkinson, regional director (South-east Asia) at Limitless.
Mr Atkinson added: ‘The Singapore market now is buoyant and fast paced, and we would take a cautionary view.’
Dubai World, through its subsidiary Istithmar, has however, recently acquired a one-third stake in the government land sales development site now known as South Beach, which is estimated to cost a total of $2.5 billion.
Mr Saeed would not say what its expected target rate of returns would be for its projects but added: ‘Different countries have different hurdle rates.’
Like its parent company, Limitless will mostly fund its investment with equity but Mr Saeed said that it could also raise debt from the capital markets.
Limitless is also likely to be looking at emerging markets around the world as this is where large-scale projects that can leverage on its town-planning skills will be.
Particularly bullish on the two huge markets, Mr Saeed said: ‘India and China will probably need new homes for the next 100 years.’
Source : Business Times - 11 Dec 2007