A successful merger of the two companies would create a company with a balance sheet of over AED27bn ($7.35bn) and could be concluded by early 2009, following shareholder and regulatory approval.

The merger would create a company that could “serve as a financial powerhouse with the increased critical mass required to lead the region’s real estate finance markets to the next stage of their ongoing organic growth,” according to Amlak chairman Nasser bin Hassan al-Sheikh.

A joint steering committee, chaired by Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shibani, chief executive of Investment Corporation of Dubai, has been formed to oversee the merger talks. Goldman Sachs has been appointed as adviser on the merger.