Jan. 12, 2015


Saeed Mohammed Al Qatami

UAE, Dubai

Saeed Mohammed Al Qatami

CEO, Deyaar Development

BIO

Saeed Mohammed Al Qatami is the CEO of Deyaar and has over 20 years of experience in real estate and financial services. In an earlier role with Deyaar, he served as the company’s Managing Director–UAE Business. Prior to joining Deyaar in 2007, he held several managerial positions at renowned financial institutions including Dubai Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, and RAK Bank in the UAE. He holds a degree in Science and Mathematics from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, US. He also has a diploma in Finance from the University of Dubai.

What new hospitality projects are you bringing to Dubai in 2014?

We are set to undertake approximately 5 million square feet of projects in 2014. One-fifth of this will be allocated to the hospitality sector, either for serviced apartments or for the hotel business with four-and five-star hotels offering superior amenities. The main focus at first will be on serviced apartments, which are in high demand ahead of Expo 2020.

How is the Atria project developing?

The Atria is a project of approximately 725,000 square feet divided into two buildings, with amenities and retail services. Of the two buildings, one is a residential with 219 units of one, two, and three bedrooms, and has already sold out. Conceptualized by UK-based designers, yoo Studio, the hotel apartment tower, which is comprised of 347 units, will feature studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, and three bedroom duplex units across a 30-floor complex. Our strategy is to give added value to our clients, not only with the brand name, but also with the interior design. Our designer is renowned as one of the best in the world.

What is your strategy for improving profitability?

In 2012, Deyaar turned AED38.6 million in consolidated net profit and, in 2013, we quadrupled that to an AED154.5 million consolidated net profit. We have seen growth in our stock and hope that profits will continue to rise for the next few years at least. Deyaar's strategy is to diversify its capabilities in the real estate sector and, accordingly, has decided to expand its development portfolio beyond commercial and residential properties, with the inclusion of hospitality projects. In line with our new direction, we have allotted up to 1 million square feet for hotel and serviced apartment projects in prime locations in the city in the coming years.

Over 2013, Deyaar added around 600 units to its portfolio. How many units are you planning to add in 2014?

We are handing over 180 units. We also have previous stock that remains available. In terms of sales, there are about 500 units available in various areas. Also, through our joint ventures, such as Central Park, a mixed-used development located at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a project with Dubai Properties, we will be adding a further 426, two-thirds of which are already sold.

What is your approach to Dubai's regulatory regime in the real estate sector?

Over the past few years, Dubai has streamlined its policies in a way that enables long-term, sustained development in the real estate and property sector, which I think is exceptional, considering this is still a nascent market. With all the regulations in place, it is only a matter of ensuring that developers comply with them before they launch their projects. Ideally, a project should be launched only after getting the master plan approved by the authorities, which should also ascertain that the plan is strictly adhered to during the execution stage as well.

What is your opinion on the recent increase in construction activity in Dubai?

When I drive around the UAE, I see huge growth in the number of projects. The government has been spending heavily, and there are some projects emerging that will impact the industry overall. One major issue is related to labor. Following the crisis, many companies chose to let many laborers go. As these large projects require workers, the market may eventually face a skilled labor issue. This will impact the real estate industry as costs will increase.

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