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19 September 2005

Dubai Festival City Signs AED 660m Loan For Mega Hospitality And Business Hub

The Al Futtaim Group, a leading business house in the UAE, has arranged an AED 660 million 12 year facility agreement to part finance the construction of a mega hospitality and business hub at its flagship project, Dubai Festival City - the Middle East's largest, privately-funded, mixed-use development taking shape on the banks of the historic Creek.

The deal, signed with one of the leading financial institutions in UAE, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), is to part finance the AED 1.3 billion 510 room iconic convention hotel, InterContinental Dubai Festival City, its 4,500 square metre state-of-the-art Conference Centre, the 318 room Crown Plaza Dubai Festival City and a 500,000 square foot office tower.

Speaking at the signing, Omar Al Futtaim, CEO of the Al Futtaim Group said: "This is a significant financial arrangement for Dubai Festival City as we continue to develop the core of its leading hospitality and business hubs. This agreement reflects the confidence the financial industry has both in our project and in the UAE real estate market in general."

The InterContinental Dubai Festival City, which is primed to be the hotel management brand's world-wide flagship property, is expected to be completed in January 2007. In addition, the hotelier brand will manage the InterContinental Convention Centre which will be a major addition to the UAE's and the region's MICE offering with a capacity for up to 4,000 guests and delegates.

"We applaud the efforts of the Al Futtaim Group in the development of this world class destination. With its continued support, we are confident that our Dubai Festival City property will be a regional beacon of excellence for the InterContinental brand," said Chris Moloney, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East & Africa for Intercontinental Hotels Group.

In addition, the deal will finance the construction of the Crown Plaza Dubai Festival City, which will be seamlessly connected to the InterContinental offering. These properties will form the core components of the all-encompassing city's hospitality cluster - the largest for a single project in the Middle East.

"This transaction is an expression of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank's commitment to providing well thought out and innovative financing solutions for major projects that will enhance Dubai's status as the business and tourist hub of the Middle East," said Eirvin Knox, CEO, ADCB.

"This financing is the continuation of a long standing partnership with the Al Futtaim Group and highlights ADCB's strategy of contributing to the growth of business in the UAE by investing in major projects that will have a long term impact on the nation's future prosperity."

The deal will also finance the development of a 500,000 square foot office tower which is connected to both the Intercontinental and Crown Plaza hotels as well as to the 2.6 million square foot retail, hospitality and entertainment focal point, Festival Centre.

"One of the unique aspects of Dubai Festival City's hospitality and entertainment offerings is the connectivity between all the relevant components. Visitors and residents will be able to walk throughout the hotels and the giant Festival Centre with ease and in the comfort of air-conditioned walkways," explained Al Futtaim.

Giving life to a new downtown caf' culture, Festival Centre will host 400 shops and 70 restaurants and cafes, many facing the waterfront in a Riviera-style setting. Renowned and new-to-market food and beverage outlets will be found in themed pavilions strategically located between a Canal Walk and the Festival Marina ensuring waterfront views for all.

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