UAE real estate developer plans solar-powered homes

April 5th, 2008 - 7:03 pm ICT by admin  

(Gulf Business Capsule)

Dubai, April 5 (IANS) United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based real estate giant Nakheel is planning to build entirely solar-powered homes on its iconic Palm Jumeirah development. “The idea is still under study and we have to make sure it’s feasible before we put in on the market. It’s very difficult to give a deadline but we have a very ambitious plan,” Abdulrahman Kalantar, managing director of Design and Development at Nakheel, told Emirates Business 24-7.

Palm Jumeirah is one of the three palm-tree shaped artificial islands being developed by Nakheel along the Dubai coast.

According to Kalantar, the company hoped to fully supply all residential units on the man-made island with solar energy in the next five years.

“We’re currently studying a lot of options, one of them being how to maximize the use of solar energy. Solar has been a proven technology all around the world, but the applications and uses are very limited in Dubai. We have plenty of sun and we have to know how to use that energy,” he said.


Hotel room rates in Dubai up by 10-20 percent

Hotel room rates in Dubai increased 10 percent to 20 percent last year as the city continued to see strong hotel occupancy levels.

“There was a standard increase of 15-20 percent in room rates last year. However, so far this year rates are at the same level as in late last year,” Kulwant Singh, managing partner of Lama Tours, told the Gulf News.

Habtoor Hotels CEO Rahim Abu Omar said room rates across the group’s properties in the city were on average 18 percent higher in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same period of 2007.

Occupancy between January and March was 85-90 percent for the group, which owns and manages mid-range to luxury properties, according to the report.

Abu Omar said an increase in the number of corporate events in the city is also keeping meeting facilities and ballrooms busy.

Rotana Group said room rates in the first quarter this year were on average 10 percent higher than in the January-March period last year.

“Rotana’s hotels in Dubai witnessed a great first-quarter this year,” the report quoted Naeem Darkazally, the group’s director of sales and marketing for Dubai and Northern Emirates, as saying.

“Our forecasts see healthy business trends in the second quarter,” he said, adding that the meetings and convention facilities saw an increase of 13 percent in rates in the first quarter.


Bahrain bank, British firm in insurance JV

Bahrain-based award-winning investment bank Ahli United Bank is setting up an Islamic insurance company with a paid-up capital of $25 million and authorized capital of $200 million.

The company, which will be headquartered in Bahrain, is a joint venture with British-based Legal and General Group.

The joint venture will initially offer a range of Islamic finance-based life and health insurance products and pension plans to retail and corporate customers in the Gulf region.

“We are pleased to have entered into this memorandum of understanding with Legal and General whose experience in the insurance sector will provide the technical and operational expertise for the joint venture company,” Fahad Al Rajaan, chairman of Ahli United Bank, said in a statement.

“Coupled with Ahli United Bank’s expanding regional distribution network the joint venture will provide the framework to cater for the increasing and diversified insurance needs within the Gulf region,” he said.

The new joint venture company, subject to regulatory and statutory consents, expects to launch its operations in Bahrain later this year, and to extend its product offering in the region in a phased manner, according to the statement.

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