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Brand to Brand…Emaar vs Nakheel

Dubai’s biggest developers go head to head

Emaar Properties, established in 1997 with a capital of $274 million, is a public joint stock company (PJSC) 32 percent owned by the Dubai government. Emaar posted $3.465 billion profits for the first nine months of 2008. The developer, which holds a 30 percent equity in Dubai Bank, also owns Emrill (a joint venture with UK-based Carillion that provides property and facilities management services). In January 2006, in line with its Vision 2010 plan, Emaar (that already has a significant presence in 36 markets) decided to expand its investments into the education and healthcare businesses.

Privately owned Nakheel Properties, also known as Nakheel Corporation was founded in 1990 in Dubai, Nakheel. Upon completion, its various waterfront projects will have added more than 1,000km of shoreline to Dubai’s coastline. According to recent reports, Nakheel posted $770.5 million profits for the first half of 2008.

Emaar and Nakheel also established their own dedicated Islamic home financing companies that now lead the mortgage market, controlling about 85 percent of it: Amlak Finance is a subsidiary of Emaar; Tamweel is a joint venture between Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) and the state Istithmar investment holding group that is affiliated to Nakheel.

While Emaar has long been listed on the Dubai Financial Market, competitor Nakheel is also thinking about an IPO in the third quarter of 2009.


Emaar’s portfolio of real estate projects includes 2sqkm Burj Dubai Downtown, residential Emirates Hills (that hosts bucolic-named communities the Lakes, the Views, the Greens, the Meadows and the Springs), the Dubai Marina project, the Umm Al Quwain Marina, polo and golf resort the Arabian Ranches, Emaar Towers and the Emaar Business Park (where its head office is based). The company also established in 2001 the Gold and Diamond Park that houses gold, jewelry and diamond retail and manufacturing businesses.

Nakheel has a portfolio of hotels, shopping and retail projects, but is best known for its man-made Palm trilogy (Jumeirah, Jebel Ali, Deira), The World islands and Dubai Waterfront. Onshore projects include The Gardens, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Discovery Gardens, Lost City, Jumeirah Islands, Jumeirah Village, The International City, Jewel of the Palm, The Palm Golden Mile, Palm Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Ibn Battuta Mall.

Nakheel also joined hands with Kerzner International to develop Atlantis, The Palm, a 2,000-room resort and water theme park with a capacity for 7,000 visitors a day.


Both Emaar’s and Nakheel’s projects aim to cater for a wide range of investors, providing one bedroom apartments to seven bedroom villas as well as super prime residential property, such as Emaar’s Armani Residences at Burj Dubai. With more than 80 percent UAE population being foreigners, the opening up of the housing market to non-UAE nationals in 2002 – in designated free-zone and lease-hold areas – has led to a tremendous ….


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