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Dubai World to increase property portfolio in US and Asia

Dubai World, the investment firm of the Dubai government, is reportedly looking to increase its real estate portfolio in the US and Asia.

The chairman of Dubai World says the firm’s next property investments could come “within the next few months” and would be in the US and Asia.

“We like the market in Singapore and we’re evaluating opportunities here,” Dubai World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem told Reuters after a press conference held in Singapore on Thursday. “We are looking at China, Vietnam [and] Thailand.”

The Nakheel Group, the property investment arm of Dubai World, has already announced plans to expand its scope beyond Dubai. Nakheel is reportedly working with Indian developer The DLF Group to invest $10 billion in two 20,000-acre township projects in Gurgaon and the South Maharashtra/Goa region in India.

Istithmar, Dubai World’s private equity arm, is also steadily increasing its focus on international real estate. In June, the firm acquired an 80 percent stake in a $130-million luxury hotel development planned for a prime location in the heart of downtown Bangkok.

Istithmar is partnering with locally-listed Golden Land Property Development, which owns the lease on the 16,000-square-meter site centered on the famous Russian Embassy complex. The 400-room luxury hotel will be part of Golden Land’s Sathorn Square project, which will also include a 70,000-square-meter office tower. Construction of the hotel will begin later this year and is due to open in 2010.

The same month, Istithmar acquired a 40 percent stake in a joint venture to develop 30 budget hotels across Southeast Asia, primarily in Malaysia and Thailand.

Both Istithmar and Nakheel are also looking to increase their presence in Africa. The firms, in a joint venture with UK-based London & Regional Properties, purchased the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town for $1 billion last year. Istithmar and Nakheel are also reportedly looking to develop resorts in Kenya and Mozambique.