Damac wants to become a household name, globally: Ali Sajwani

General manager at Dubai-based property firm Damac says he is on the hunt to make investments beyond the GCC

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 4, 2019

The fortunes and future of the family behind one of the Middle East’s most prominent property developers rests beyond the shores of Dubai, according to its general manager, Ali Sajwani.

“If you speak to anyone from Dubai and say Damac, they know exactly what you are talking about. Surprisingly, I haven’t seen that in the US or even in London, and I want to change that,” he said.

Sajwani was speaking to CEO Middle East in an interview just before Damac’s leadership flew to Davos in Swtizerland for the World Economic Forum last week.

The 27-year-old is primarily focused on the property development firm’s sales and marketing efforts both within and outside of Dubai.

“What I’d like to be part of is to drive our growth, in London, New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong,” he said.

“We are growing abroad, and we’re always studying new markets and opportunities. There are some very good ones in Europe,” he said.

Damac chairman and billionaire Hussain Sajwani recently spoke to reporters in Davos where he mentioned he was prepared to enter London “in a big way” possibly with “a big cheque” and was also looking at US East Coast cities including New York and Toronto.

Founded by Hussain Sajwani, Damac in 2017 was the fourth largest property developer in the Middle East, making its owner and founder the 10th richest Arab in the world.

Oversupplied

The company fortunes have since taken a hit owing to a slowing regional real estate market. Damac’s shares plunged more than 50 percent in value in 2018.

“The market is oversupplied… and it will remain challenging for at least another year,” his eldest son Ali Sajwani said during the interview.

“However, we’re thinking long-term. The market is still very alive and we are continuing to sell. Things will improve.”

A souring real estate climate has brought new impetus to the firm’s quest for growth outside of the Middle East.

The firm currently has a 50-storey luxury property under development in London called Aykon London One as well another resort in the Maldives.

“There isn’t a specific target,” said Sajwani. “It all depends on the areas that bring the best return vs risk. As long as there is a growth potential there and the risk is reasonable proportional to the growth.”

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