Saudi Arabia has oil but needs housing: Urbas paves the way towards the new focus of ‘brick’

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Saudi Arabia has a lot of oil but it needs housing. Neom, a futuristic megacity in the middle of the desert with flying taxis and an artificial moon is the most iconic project, but there is still time for it to become a reality. A little over a month ago, a delegation from the country landed at the main real estate forum in Barcelona in search of investors willing to take their money and experience to the Arab territory in exchange for juicy projects. One of those projects has ended up in the hands of a Spanish promoter whose shares They are barely worth 0.005 euros in the stock market.

City announced yesterday the signing of a strategic agreement in the country to develop several residential “megaprojects” through a joint venture established together with Abyatona Development and Gamma Middle East. Its mission will be to develop almost 5,500 homes (villas and apartments), commercial, residential, sports, entertainment and leisure, educational areas, public services and green spaces, gardens and parks on a total area of ​​1.8 million square meters. The project has already been presented to the Minister of Housing of Saudi Arabia, who has appointed the National Housing Company (NHC) for its coordination and development.

The agreement breathes a breath of life into the company, one of the veterans and survivors of the sector in Spain. Dedicated to real estate since the 1970s, Urbas has been on the edge of the business precipice on more than one occasion. The 2008 bubble almost took it away and since then it has tried to right the course. Last summer he presented a new Strategic plan in which it included the firm intention to grow, reach 1,500 million euros in turnover in 2028 and raise EBITDA to almost 250 million euros. “International strengthening” is one of the pillars on which it intends to rely to achieve its goals and in this line, Saudi Arabia is presented as a key country.

The Saudi government is also immersed in its own diversification plan beyond crude oil. In a recent comment from the bank Lombard Odierits chief economist Samy Chaar, echoed the “new horizons” of the Gulf economies. “Saudi Arabia’s investments in the tourism and leisure sectors have already accelerated. Those destined for gigaprojects Even bigger ones, like Neom, a vast new sustainable city in the desert, and King Salman International Airport, have only just begun. “Public sector investments have skyrocketed in the Gulf countries in the last two years and the country leads the region in investment in solar energy,” he and his colleague noted. Homin Leesenior strategist of the entity.

In this strategy, the real estate has gained relevance. The government contemplates in its ‘Vision 2030’ agenda to increase the rate of homeownership throughout the decade, but to do so it needs foreign professionals and investors to build them. That is why they moved to Barcelona in September and that is why the country is on its way to becoming one of the new centers of desire for the brick global… And national? “Arab countries have never been a traditional market for Spanish residential developers and construction companies, but having a focus on countries with development in housing is positive,” says Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, president of APCEspaña, the Association of Construction Developers. from Spain.

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