|February 20, 2008
Dubai-based Zabeel Investments enters strategic joint venture with The Light Group
Venture will tap Arab region's estimated US$ 3 trillion tourism and leisure industry
Dubai-based diversified investment group, Zabeel Investments has taken a strategic step in to the hospitality sector, through the acquisition of a fifty percent stake in leading US hospitality development and management company, The Light Group.
This partnership marks the first foray into the US market by the fast-growing and dynamic investment house. The partnership unites the experience and innovation of the Las Vegas-based Light Group with the ambition and expertise of Dubai-based Zabeel Investments, delivering a distinct offering to both the US and UAE hospitality and entertainment sectors as well as markets further afield. The partnership continues the existing relationship between Dubai and CityCenter in Las Vegas where the Light Group will manage The Harmon Hotel, Spa & Residences, a property owned and under development by CityCenter Holdings, LLC, a joint venture of MGM MIRAGE and Dubai World. Additionally, Dubai World holds a significant stake in MGM MIRAGE.
According to a report published by Global Futures and Foresight in May 2007, during the next 20 years, more than US$ 3 trillion will be invested in the leisure and tourism industry in the Arab world, thus allowing airport capacity for an additional 300 million passengers, more than 200 new hotels, and growing regional visitor numbers to 150 million people, all of which are conservative estimates.
Commenting on the acquisition, Zabeel Investments' Executive Chairman, HE Mohammed Ali Al Hashimi, said: "The Light Group is internationally renowned for spearheading exclusive and innovative projects in the US such as The Harmon Hotel. Our goal is to develop the hospitality industry in the UAE and across the region - an aim which encompasses all areas of this sector from food and beverage to hotels and restaurants. In addition, The Light Group can tap our UAE hospitality expertise, and evolve that to other developments around the world."
"The Harmon Hotel will be an exclusive, private and environmentally green luxury boutique hotel - it is these concepts and values, which synergize so well with our own, that have made the group one of the most recognized and respected players in its field. The acquisition enables us to draw on the experience of The Light Group and transfer its knowledge, its brand of entertainment and innovative concepts and the highest service standards back to the UAE market, which continues to develop and evolve at a remarkable rate. In turn, we intend to support The Light Group as it continues to expand its hotel management, food and beverage, and entertainment portfolio further into key US cities."
"More and more the developments and growth found in the UAE and wider region are leading the way internationally in terms of scope and ambition," commented Andrew Sasson, Founder and Owner, The Light Group. "This factor, combined with the capability and vision that Zabeel Investments specifically brings to the table, marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for our company that will see us escalating our portfolio throughout the US and further afield. The partnership is founded on a shared perspective of the potential that the hospitality sector holds around the world and through this common outlook we intend to embark on a number of pioneering projects."
Since its launch in February 2006, Zabeel Investments has made significant inroads to the high-end commercial real estate development and management sector in the UAE. Its development projects include the soon to be completed Tiara Residence on Palm Jumeirah. The group also has under development, the Tiara United Towers on Sheikh Zayed Road and America Hotels & Resorts in Tatweer's AED 200 billion Bawadi entertainment themed development, both of which mirror the creativity and high-end nature of The Light Group.
In terms of strategic investments, the company holds stakes in a number of international companies including the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and Sony Corporation.