| 1 December 2021, Wednesday |

Egypt’s Ora Developers to spend $1bn in five years on African expansion

Ora Developers, an Egyptian property developer, plans to invest at least $1 billion in expanding its presence in African markets over the next five years in order to capitalize on the continent’s growth potential, according to billionaire chairman Naguib Sawiris.

Mr Sawiris, who is also the CEO of the luxury property developer, told The National at Cityscape Global in Dubai that the company’s investment will be phased, and that expansion plans include building a seven-star hotel and developing resorts in several African markets.

“Right now, we’re looking at other locations, primarily in Africa,” he said. “I’ve just arrived from Senegal… We want to build a seven-star hotel, which does not exist there, and possibly [invest in] a resort.”

Before investing in the market, the company is waiting for the current political unrest in Sudan to subside. Other African markets in which Ora is interested include Congo, Ghana, and Zaire.

The Cairo-based developer creates mixed-use residential luxury projects that incorporate commercial, retail, entertainment, and hospitality elements into their master plans. It has already begun construction projects in Grenada, Egypt, Pakistan, and Cyprus.

Ora is also considering expanding its presence in Pakistan, where it is developing a large residential project in the capital, Islamabad, which will include commercial facilities and a golf course.

“We’re also considering going to Karachi and doing a high-rise project there,” Mr Sawiris explained.

In Egypt, the company is also developing three large mixed-use projects, or “urban destinations.” The combined value of the developments is $10 billion to $11 billion, according to Haitham Mohamed, chief executive officer of Ora Developers Egypt.

Silversand, on Egypt’s north coast, has a project value of about $3 billion, Zed West has a project value of about $3 billion, and Ora’s third project, Zed East, has an inventory value of about $4 billion, he said.

These projects will be delivered in stages, and the total investment in the developments, including “infrastructure and construction budgets, is nearly 80 billion Egyptian pounds, or about $5 billion,” according to him. “Even the cost of land in Egypt is now expensive… around $3 billion.”

Mr Mohamed stated that the company intends to fund the projects with a combination of equity, approximately $1 billion in bank financing, and a revenue share model with the Egyptian government, in which the developer will receive the land and the government will receive 27% of the revenue collected.

“Once we reach the minimum guarantee, we stop paying [the government],” he explained. “Then we’ll [completely] own the project.”

The Silversand project is expected to cost around $1.6 billion to build, and the company intends to begin construction in the first quarter of 2022, with the goal of completing the project in five years.