Ithmaar Bank eyes South America property market
Published: 22nd MAY 2008
MANAMA: Bahrain-based Ithmaar Bank is to spearhead the first major move by regional investment companies into the South American real estate market.The bank is part of a consortium, which has launched a $500 million fund, which will leverage this amount to invest up to $2.5 billion in real estate in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Equador, Venezuella, Chile and Costa Rica.Ithmaar Bank chairman Khalid Abdulla Janahi said they had been looking to the South American market, which has been achieving remarkable growth for about five years.

He said the consortium were looking at return of 20 per cent a year and added that the region had been substantially unaffected by the problems in the US subprime, unlike the European market.

Ithmaar Development Company, the development arm of the Ithmaar Banking Group, Kuwait-based Al Safat Investment Company, the parent company of Al Safat Group, and Bahrain-based Arabian Ventures are the partners in the venture.

The closed-ended fund will have an initial term of five years.

“In the last few years economic stability has started to take hold in Central and Latin America, which has resulted in unprecedented growth in the region’s real estate sector. The robust development of capital markets in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Costa Rica has increased liquidity, a clear indicator of positive, economic progress,” Mr Janahi said.

“A long-awaited period of sustained economic growth is finally occurring in much of Latin America,” said Al Safat Investment Company (ASIC) chairman Waleed Ahmad Al Sharhan.

Arabian Ventures chief executive officer Mishal Al Jarallah said central and Latin America have become increasingly market-friendly in recent years.

“This trend, along with the political stability that many countries in the region are currently enjoying, has created significant opportunities in many economic sectors, not least in the booming real estate sector.”

“The Latin American Real Estate Fund provides us with a platform to participate in the growth and development of Latin America,” said ASIC chief executive officer Abdullah A Al Shaheen.

“The launch of Latin American Real Estate Fund reinforces our position as a leading player in the global real estate development sector,” said Ithmaar Development Company chief executive officer Mohammed Khalil Al Sayed.

“The entry into Latin America signals our intention to further expand our geographical footprint, while providing attractive returns to investors in the region.”

Meanwhile, Mr Janahi said Ithmaar Bank was launching a $1bn energy fund with the Kazakh government. [email protected]



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