Viceroy Dubai secures $201mn of funding from China

Fist time China's largest lender has funded ME hospitality project

The main structural works of the Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah project are currently underway and the entire project is slated for completion in 2016.
The main structural works of the Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah project are currently underway and the entire project is slated for completion in 2016.

SKAI Holdings, the Dubai-based real estate investment firm, announced on Monday it had secured AED 737.6m (US $201m) of financing for its $1bn Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah project from China’s largest bank.

The funds will be provided by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and the conclusion of the deal marks the first Middle East hospitality project financed by China’s largest lender.

“This is the first time ICBC is able to fully participate and facilitate the financing of a hospitality and residential development project in the region. We believe this opportunity is an ideal step for ICBC to enter into Dubai's growing Real Estate Industry," said Zhou Xiaodong, CEO of ICBC Middle East.

“Securing the final round of funding for the Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah marks another key milestone in the construction of the project and further demonstrates our pledge to complete the project on time and to the highest standards,” added Nabil Akiki, CEO, Real Estate Development of SKAI Holdings.

The news marks the latest Chinese link to the project, coming just months after SKAI Holdings announced last summer the regional unit of the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), the world’s largest construction company, will invest an undisclosed amount in the Palm Jumeirah project.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with SKAI Holdings to develop this exciting new project, which we believe will become one of the region’s most sought-after resorts. This is CSCEC’s first investment in a development project in the Middle East and marks a significant milestone in our growth in the region," Yu Tao, president and CEO of CSCEC Middle East, said in June 2013.

The main structural works of the Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah project are currently underway and the entire project is slated for completion in 2016.

Viceroy Palm Jumeirah will include 479 spacious rooms and suites, with 222 signature Viceroy Residences. The beachside property will host ten restaurants, as well as a gourmet market and bakery. In addition, the hotel will also have a spa, indoor fitness facilities and three outdoor swimming pools.

Last year, Kabir Mulchandani, Group CEO of Skai Holdings Limited said the project had received a lot of keen interest from Chinese buyers: “We had an amazing conference in Beijing with brokers there. They saw the concept and payment plan and one stood up and said it was the best payment plan he had ever seen. We have a lot of Chinese buyers already.”

CSCEC has been operating in the region since 2003. China’s largest construction contractor, it had a turnover of AED341.6bn ($93bn) last year and projects in its portfolio include the Federazija Complex in Moscow, which will include Europe's highest skyscraper, New York’s Alexander Hamilton Bridge and Hong Kong airport’s passenger terminal.

China, the world’s second largest economy, is ramping up its investment in the Middle East as it looks to diversify its foreign assets. China and UAE trade has increased 35 percent every year for the last decade to reach AED128.5bn, according to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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