Mall of Egypt construction to start by end of 2012

Construction of Mall of Egypt, the Cairo shopping mall which will include North Africa’s first manmade indoor ski resort, will start by the end of 2012, UAE-based developer Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Properties announced on Thursday.

The shopping mall, which will be built on 399,400 square metres of land outside Cairo, will have around 380 shops, a Carrefour hypermarket, 17-screen cinema complex, amusement park and an indoor ski resort similar to MAF Properties’ Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates.

Construction is due to start by the end of 2012 and the US$400m contract has been awarded to a 50/50 joint venture between Orascom Construction (OC) and the BESIX Group.

The project will represent a total investment of EGP4.9bn (US$800m) by MAF Properties and will lead to the creation of 9,000 jobs during the construction phase and 7,000 once the mall has opened.

“We are now in our 20th year of operations and, notably, have been in Egypt for ten of those years. Egypt’s strong economic fundamentals, such as its young and growing population, make it an attractive growth market. We are committed to building on our success in Egypt and investing in the country’s long-term economic growth,” said Peter Walichnowski, CEO of MAF Properties

Earlier this week, MAF Holding, MAF Properties’ parent company, reported revenue in the first half of 2012 rose 15 percent year-on-year to AED10.7bn on the back of recovering tenant sales in markets such as Bahrain and Egypt.

The mall operator’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) grew 17 percent year-on-year to over AED1.5bn (US$408m), while total assets amounted to AED37bn.

Iyad Malas, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Holding, attributed the positive balance sheet to a recovery in revenue from markets previously impacted by the fallout from turbulence during the Arab Spring demonstrations.

“2012 has already been a successful and busy year for us. We have seen turnarounds in markets previously impacted by the Arab spring, with tenant sales increasing about 44 percent in Egypt and about 23 percent in Bahrain, in the first half of the year,” he said.

MAF Properties portfolio of 11 shopping malls and 10 hotels in the MENA region accounted for 64 percent of the group’s overall EBITDA and saw revenue for the period rise 16 percent to AED1.5bn.

“Our shopping mall strategy remains focused on strengthening our regional shopping mall presence, with developments in both Lebanon and Egypt moving forward and strategic opportunities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Azerbaijan under review,” Malas said.

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