Tasweek to target distressed properties

The Abu Dhabi-based property is the latest to announce fund aimed at buying properties in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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Tasweek, a property marketing and development firm launched in Abu Dhabi less than a year ago, plans to raise US$250 million (Dh918.2m) to acquire distressed real estate assets in the capital and Dubai. Yesterday's announcement follows news that other firms in the region, eager to capitalise on a steep drop in property prices from late last year, have set up funds to target property owned by investors desperately in need of cash.

Markaz, a Kuwaiti investment firm, said last month it was eyeing a $50m investment in distressed property holdings on Reem Island in Abu Dhabi. Mayfair Wealth Management, a company based in the Cayman Islands, has also announced a $50m fund to invest in property assets in the Emirates. Masood al Awar, the chief executive of Tasweek, said the company's approach would be to find sellers willing to offload their properties at low prices because they needed to raise cash quickly at a time when the pool of potential buyers had become smaller.

The company was looking for sellers in an "emergency situation" or in "intensive care", not those who merely had mild ailments. "We plan to acquire properties in free zones and investment zones in Dubai and Abu Dhabi over the next few months," said Mr al Awar, who helped start Tasweek after leaving the property developer Sorouh, where he was adviser to the chairman. "We have already begun acquiring properties using our own funds."

The company, which also runs a consulting business and plans to offer structured finance to developers, intends to move steadily into the market, Mr al Awar said. Funds for the portfolio are to come from the company's shareholders and outside investors. Tasweek plans to target locations such as Dubai Marina and the Dubai International Financial Centre, as well as Reem Island and Raha Beach in Abu Dhabi.

The strategy in Dubai will involve buying properties and then renting them to generate income or selling them at a profit. The focus in Abu Dhabi will be the rental market. afitch@thenational.ae