Amer Group eyes more home sales to Europeans

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CAIRO: Egyptian real estate developer Amer Group is eyeing a boost in home sales to Europeans, banking on the North African country’s relatively low prices and Mediterranean climate, an executive said on Thursday.


The developer, whose financial adviser has said it may sell shares to the public this year, is also planning to expand abroad with home sales in Syria slotted for next month.

Many Europeans are interested in second homes in Egypt, despite the debt crisis which has sparked fears of a sluggish euro zone recovery, said Peter Riddoch, chief executive of Amer Group’s resort development arm Porto World.

"Our price point is very attractive to Europeans, our locations are superb. The climate is superb," he said.

Prices in the first phase of the Red Sea resort of Porto South Beach, which sold out after its May launch, started at about LE 4,500 per square meter, Riddoch said.

Egypt’s property sector has weathered the global financial crisis relatively well, thanks largely to strong local demand and the country’s insulation from international credit markets.

Companies such as Talaat Moustafa Group and SODIC reported strong sales in the first quarter of 2010.

"Our main focus up until now … has been to locals. As we’ve test marketed in European countries … we’re getting so much interest in it, that we’re looking at opportunities there as well," Riddoch said.

Most Egyptian firms have focused on local demand but some such as Orascom Development, a Swiss-listed and Egyptian-run developer, target Europeans seeking second homes.

Amer Group is planning to start selling some 600 homes off-plan, or before construction, in its Syria project Port Tartous next month and is in the early stages of projects in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, Riddoch said.

Riddoch would not be drawn on IPO plans, saying: "Like any organization, the Amer Group will always look at all of its options."

He said the company did not need large amounts of capital because it sells homes before construction and uses the installment payments to finance building work.


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By Reuters
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