Property developer eyes growth in Europe, US instead, says founder PNC Menon
Dubai developer Sobha Group has ruled out expansion elsewhere in the GCC but plans to be in “one other non-Middle Eastern, non-Asian territory by 2020”, its founder and chairman told Arabian Business.
Indian-born PNC Menon said “a lot of opportunities” had arisen to expand the company outside the UAE and into other Gulf states.
At present, the group has schemes either under construction or in planning in Dubai and Umm Al Quwain, as well as a large operation in India, but its work elsewhere in the GCC has been limited to interiors contracting in Oman, Qatar and Bahrain in the early days of the business.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Menon said the group “has no further expansion planned in the Middle East”.
“We have had a lot of opportunities coming our way, but I have decided it is better we consolidate here [in the UAE] and look at geographies other than the Middle East,” he said.
He declined to divulge full reasons for his decision other than to say that there are “tremendous” untapped opportunities in the UAE for Sobha Group, and that Dubai in particular “is one of the easiest places in the world to do business – it is one of the safest investment destinations and has the highest business standards and ethics.”
He added that he preferred to concentrate on building Sobha Group into one of the “top three best real estate brands in Dubai” in the next five years, before commencing measured global expansion.
This is likely to start in either the US or UK and early-stage talks have begun with prospective joint venture partners, Menon said.
“We are looking at everything but I am not in a hurry now. There is a certain amount of consolidation we have to do first.
“I will be looking at further expansion post-2019. So 2017, ‘18, ‘19 are consolidation years for us [in the UAE]; from 2019, we will be looking at other geographies, and...Read more...