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S.Korea firms to double investments in Dubai

BY MANU SHARMA  - Khaleej Times

DUBAI Apart from Gulf Arab investors and Europeans, South Korean companies are the leading investors in Dubai property developments. Presently three major Korean companies are investing over $2 billion in the booming real estate market and are likely to double investments over the years.

The three Korean companies are Bando Constructing Co, Sungwon Corporation and Axon Gulf, who are involved in building major projects at Business Bay and Dubailand.

The Middle East had been a major source of construction work for Korean construction companies, mostly for civil works and the petrochemical plant sector. It is now that the ME lead by Dubai, has become a target of foreign direct investment, real estate development and building contracting work for the Korean companies.

Having made their initial investments in the region, now all the three Korean firms are planning to expand their operations.

Bando proposes to invest $1 billion over the next two to three years to set up three mega projects in the UAE. This will be in addition to the U-Bora Towers coming up at Business Bay that marks its entry into the UAE market.

Talking to Khaleej Times, Eliot Lee, Marketing Manager of Bando Construction Co. said, "We will now expand with three more mega projects lined up over the next few years and 65 per cent of the amount will be utilised for the Dubai projects."

Similarly, Sungwon Corp., one of South Korea's largest integrated construction companies had earlier announced its plans to invest $1.2 billion in the Middle East property sector, especially in the UAE. "Apart from our first two projects at Business Bay and Culture Village, we are negotiating other deals with Dubai Properties that will be announced soon," an official from Sungwon said. The company is currently negotiating with firms in South Korea and Dubai to develop design proposals for its Dubai freehold projects.

Axon's regional subsidiary Axon Gulf, another major Korea firm is investing $1.5 billion in tower projects in Dubailand and Business Bay, including its $500 million Axon Tower at Business Bay. The company official said that the tower is the first of seven projects planned for Dubai, at a total investment of $700m.

Earlier last year, Dubai Properties sold land to Korea's top construction firm, Bando Housing Corp, worth $100 million. Bando is now constructing a $350 million twin tower residential, commercial and retail development at Business Bay. Its Chairman Hong Sa Kwon said,"We are impressed with the massive construction projects coming up here and in fact we are the first Korean real estate company to invest in the UAE."

Sungwon is investing $300 million for a mixed-use project in Culture Village that will cover 120,000 sq ft, offering 410 residential, commercial and retail units. Meanwhile a 54,000 sq ft project in Business Bay will feature a 20-storey luxury residential tower valued at $100 million. Axon Gulf will build a 30-storey commercial tower in Dubai Sports City at a cost of $100 million.



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