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Kuwait's IFA Hotels gets $115 mln funding in Dubai.

Summary: IFA sees opportunities for cheaper Mideast accommodation.

Kuwait-based IFA Hotels and Resorts has secured $115 million in funding to complete a luxury hotel in Dubai, it said, as financing for selective projects remains available despite tough conditions.

The three-year loan facility arranged by Standard Chartered Bank will allow IFA to complete its Fairmont Palm Jumeirah hotel project in the first quarter of 2012, Joe Sita, president of IFA Hotel Investments told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

"Construction had slowed down. The hotel is externally complete, 60 percent complete, so this will allow us to fit out the hotel and open it," he said.

IFA Hotel Investments is the firm's asset management subsidiary company.

Lenders in the Gulf Arab region continue to be selective in their financing of real estate projects after property markets in the region, Dubai in particular, suffered sharply as a result of the global downturn.

Sita said IFA, whose resort locations include Portugal, Lebanon, South Africa and the United States, is currently focusing on delivering projects under construction.

IFA is looking at opportunities however to expand its YOTEL brand -- an "affordable luxury" hotel -- in the Gulf Arab and wider Middle East regions, where it sees a dearth of cheaper accommodation, he said.

Qatar is of particular interest for the brand after the Gulf state won the right to win the 2022 soccer World Cup, he added.

The world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas plans to double the supply of rooms in hotels and guest apartments by 2022, the world's governing soccer body said in its official report on the evaluation of the Qatari bid.

IFA is investing $300 million on building a YOTEL in Manhattan New York, which is set open next year and aims to spend as much as $30 million in Europe in 2011, Sita said declining to give further details.

IFA is the majority shareholder in YOTEL.

YOTEL New York will be its fourth property after openings at Heathrow, Gatwick and Schiphol airports.

(Editing by Reed Stevenson)

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Publication:Kippreport
Geographic Code:7KUWA
Date:Dec 7, 2010
Words:351
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