Having recently appointed Ibrahim Al-Othman, who has extensive experience in the local energy sector, as the company's CEO, what does this move show about UDC's strategic outlook?
United Development Company (UDC) is fortunate to have welcomed Mr. Al-Othman as the company's CEO. With over 25 years of experience, Ibrahim Al-Othman has come on board to ensure the company continues pushing forward and ensuring the primary focus remains results-oriented in delivering for our shareholders, clients, residents, and employees. Our foremost emphasis at this stage of UDC's development is to focus on the company's core business as a means to achieving greater progress and profits for our stakeholders. Ibrahim's track record at previous executive positions he held makes him the right executive to lead this paradigm shift in UDC's strategic focus for the next five years. This means he will lead our progress by increasing profits from real estate development, sales and retail leasing, and management, in addition to overseeing major improvements in the performances of our various subsidiaries and partnerships.
How would you rate the success of your development of The Pearl, and to what extent will you be targeting similar large-scale projects to boost the company's growing profile?
As Qatar continues to witness remarkable growth, The Pearl-Qatar has become home to a diverse range of cultures and ethnicities, and is now proudly one of the fastest growing communities in Doha. We are therefore committed to sustaining growth and profitability as well as meeting stakeholder expectations by working to complete the remaining phases of our flagship development, The Pearl-Qatar, and to conclude winning partnerships in other key sectors of operation. Our strategy is to focus on the core business, namely urban development, real estate sales, retail leasing, property and asset management, and district cooling. Potential in these major areas is huge, and we are confident in our ability to achieve the satisfaction of our stakeholders.
As a company that is listed on Qatar's Stock Exchange, what can the local market do to attract more foreign investment to its shores?
Qatar is fairly open for international investors, and its continued development relies to a good extent on the continuing flow of foreign investments. Therefore, Qatar will need to ensure that it remains competitive compared to other GCC states if it is to be considered more favorably by foreign investors. This may take the form of additional and more liberalized free trade zones and more detailed landlord-tenant legislation. On our part, The Pearl-Qatar will continue to attract interest from tenants and buyers alike for a variety of reasons, most notably for being the first development to offer freehold ownership to foreigners as well as for the variety of investment opportunities it presents in real estate development, sales, retail, and hospitality.
What are some of the recent trends you are noticing in Qatar's real estate market?
The country's growing population ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup continues to impact real estate dynamics of supply and demand. Qatar has equally strengthened its position as one of the leading property markets for investors, as the growth in the sector is likely to continue, supported by Qatar's strong economy and government investment in infrastructure and road works. We are also starting to witness a shift towards adopting a sustainable approach to urban expansion and population distribution in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV2030).
What are your expectations for the year ahead?
Major opportunities will arise at The Pearl-Qatar in the near future in relation to investments in infrastructure, transportation networks, and tourism as part of QNV2030. Therefore, the real estate market could never be more favorable to investors than it is today. On the residential side, the increase in population due to recruitment of personnel from outside of Qatar by new and expanding businesses continues to drive demand for residential accommodation. Our outlook is to move ahead and can be achieved by focusing and committing to our three imperative strategies of attracting investors, attracting more residents and retailers, and completing the development of the Island. Focusing on and implementing these three strategies will bring more success in 2015 and the years to come.