Nakheel and Meydan merge under umbrella of Dubai Holding

Move aimed at creating more financially efficient entity led by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed

Jumeirah Group, which operates Burj Al Arab, is part of the Dubai Holding conglomerate. Victor Besa / The National
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Real estate companies Nakheel and Meydan have been merged under the umbrella of Dubai Holding, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced on Saturday.

Nakheel and Meydan are set to become part of Dubai Holding under the leadership of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, the Executive Office said.

The boards of directors of Nakheel and Meydan will be abolished.

The two companies will join forces with Dubai Holding in an effort to sustain and advance growth through a unified and integrated vision that builds on gains, spurs efforts and boosts Dubai’s global competitiveness, the Executive Office added.

“In a new milestone to reinforce and boost our economic growth, today we directed the inclusion of Nakheel and Meydan companies under the umbrella of Dubai Holding, forming a global economic entity with a diverse portfolio in sectors such as technology, media, hospitality, real estate, retail, and more, led by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“The goal is to create a more financially efficient entity, owning assets worth hundreds of billions, and comprising global expertise across various sectors with which we can compete regionally and globally, achieving our national objectives, and realising the Dubai Economic Agenda D33.

“Wishing all the best to the team on this new mission … We are optimistic about an upcoming phase where we will multiply our growth, compete with our ambitions, and achieve our economic vision for our people.”

Since its establishment in 2004, Dubai Holding has aimed at fostering an innovation-driven knowledge-based economy, the Executive Office said.

Dubai Holding's portfolio includes Jumeirah Group, Dubai Properties and Tecom Group.

Tecom Group owns and operates 10 sector-focused business clusters, with Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City as its flagships.

Meanwhile, Nakheel and Meydan have unveiled several projects in sectors including property, retail, hospitality, food and beverage, leisure and entertainment and health care.

Nakheel and Meydan will join Dubai Holding to develop a highly diversified conglomerate operating in several sectors across property, tourism, hospitality, leisure and entertainment, and investments, the Executive Office said.

“This move is set to combine a complementary suite of services and expertise to diversify the economy and maximise their competitiveness in the global marketplace,” it added.

“This strategic vision will provide an ideal platform to address the growing demand for specialised services globally and seeks to leverage new opportunities that are emerging and serve the global demand expected in the long term.”

The beginnings of Dubai Holding are strongly interlinked with the emirate's strategies in positioning itself as a global business and tourism centre.

The conglomerate is active in sectors including hospitality, property, asset management, entertainment and investments.

It is the personal corporate portfolio of Sheikh Mohammed, with Sheikh Ahmed as its current chairman.

Dubai Holding is behind many of the emirate's key properties. Among the first projects it launched was Madinat Jumeirah, which opened in 2004.

In the two years that followed, the organisation launched Dubai Studio City, Dubai International Academic City, du and Emirates International Telecommunications, which invests in telecom companies around the world.

Dubai Holding also took on several existing projects, including Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City, both of which were vital in developing the emirate's media sector.

Tecom Group, which was a subsidiary of Dubai Holding, was established in 2005 to manage existing business districts and develop new ones with the government of Dubai.

Tecom is also behind Dubai Design District and Dubai Industrial City. Although Tecom went public in 2022, Dubai Holding remains a stakeholder.

Investments and joint ventures under the Dubai Holding portfolio include Dubai Hills Estate, du, Rove Hotels, and Dubai Waste Management Centre.

Projects under Meraas Holding and Merex Investment – a joint venture with Brookfield Asset Management – are also partly under the Dubai Holding umbrella. These include City Walk, La Mer and Bluewaters Island.

Dubai Holding also has the brands under Jumeirah Hotels group, such as Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Hatta Wadi Hub, as well as hotels overseas, including Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel and Jumeirah Guangzhou.

Dubai Holding has several well-known developments under its entertainment division. Global Village, Ain Dubai, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Roxy Cinemas and the Wild Wadi waterpark are all within the conglomerate, along with radio stations, including Dubai 92, Dubai Eye and Virgin Radio.

Today, Dubai Holding has assets worth Dh130 billion ($35.4 billion) across more than a dozen countries.

“When we first started, we were faced with a challenging situation, as we only had one remote piece of land in Dubai and only a Dh200 million loan. Today the Group’s assets exceed Dh100 billion across different sectors,” Dubai Holding's former chairman Mohammad Al Gergawi said in 2017.

The merger of Nakheel and Meydan will open doors for more integration across sectors and collaboration within the property industry, according to Cherif Sleiman, chief revenue officer of Property Finder.

"Recent numbers have already been showing bright prospects for investments in the country. We believe this will further accelerate the availability of diverse project portfolios that cater to a constantly growing demand for various types of properties," he said.

"As a result, we expect property prices to stabilise in the mid term."

Updated: March 17, 2024, 9:19 AM