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| 18 October, 2017

Danube eyeing larger footprint in Pakistan

A mix of occupied houses and houses under construction are seen in Bahria Town on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan March 16, 2016.

A mix of occupied houses and houses under construction are seen in Bahria Town on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan March 16, 2016.

REUTERS/Caren Firouz

Pakistani nationals are one of the largest investors in Dubai's real estate sector

Real estate firm Danube Group aims to strengthen its presence in Pakistan by attracting more investments into its property portfolio, and is also expanding its home furnishing brand into the South Asian country.

"Pakistan is strategically a very important market. We are searching for a right franchise partner there. Some investors have shown interest, [so] we are evaluating the right partner. Post completion of the market research and study, we are looking to open stores across major cities of Pakistan. Though the location is still not decided, we will plan the location based on our research analysis," said Adel Sajan, director of Danube Group.

He pointed out that Danube Home stores usually span an area between 5,000 sqft to 10,000 sqft for boutique concepts and 25,000 sqft to 45,000 sqft for the big box concept, with an investment ranging between $400,000 (Dh1.468 million) to $2.5 million (Dh9.175 million), depending on the size of the store, number of stores and operating cost in the country. In order to tap Pakistani investors, the Dubai-based group recently appointed cricket captain Sarfaraz Ahmed as its ambassador in Dubai.

Atif Rahman, director and partner at Danube Properties, told Khaleej Times in an interview that the group's customer base from Pakistan is expanding fast, therefore, it's important with over 200 million population to focus on the market and reach out to customers there.

"Right now, between seven to eight per cent of investors - and revenues - are from Pakistan. In terms of sale value, we are talking about Dh200 million-plus investments by Pakistani nationals in to Danube's projects. We are also seeing month-on-month increase in investments that motivated us to be associated with a brand ambassador from that market and also start venturing into that market locally. Therefore, you will see a lot of road shows and activities in Karachi and Lahore at the end of October and early November," Rahman revealed during the interview.

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Meanwhile, Pakistani nationals are one of the largest investors in Dubai's real estate sector. A recent statement by Dubai Land Department said that Pakistani nationals made 5,398 real estate transactions worth nearly Dh7 billion. Pakistan's Federal Board of Revenue recently told parliament that its nationals had parked $8 billion (Dh29.36 billion) in to the UAE's - mainly in Dubai - real estate sector.

Rahman said: "Without any doubt, our business from Pakistan is going to grow. There is a consistent demand for construction material as well as properties. We have a very traditional, conventional and organic way of expanding business. We go out on a small scale and grow it strength-by-strength. Right now, we have added two cities of Karachi and Lahore; if the response continues to be good and numbers are increasing, we will continue to invest. There is no upper limit - it's purely organic and based on the confidence in the market," he noted.

- waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com

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