• Limitless to announce new overseas projects
  • At first, Dubai-based firm will act as development and project manager
  • New schemes will add to existing plans in Vietnam, Russia and Saudi Arabia

Dubai developer Limitless remains committed to its long-term strategy of developing overseas projects, and is preparing to make announcements on new schemes outside Dubai.

“We are planning to focus on overseas development,” said Ali Rashid Lootah, chairman of Limitless, at a press briefing on 29 June. “We are talking to different entities that want to work with us. They need us as Limitless or as Nakheel to help them with some developments in different countries, which we will make announcements on very soon.”

Limitless is expected to initially work on the projects in an advisory capacity. “In the beginning, it will be as development adviser or project manager,” said Lootah.

Limitless already has two overseas projects. In Vietnam, it is part of the joint venture developing the Halong Star project. In 2014, the developer was told it can legally move forward with infrastructure work, after receiving an investment certificate from the local Quang Ninh state authority.

In Russia, Limitless signed a joint venture agreement with Russia’s RDI Group to build a new town for about 12,000 people near Moscow. The 1.1-square-kilometre scheme will have 4,500 homes including low-rise apartments buildings, townhouse and villas, as well as schools, shops and other commercial elements.

Limitless also owns 7 million square metres of land 17 kilometres northwest of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The company had owned 14 million sq m until it recently sold 7 million sq m. Earlier it had planned to develop a project known as Wasl on the site, which involved building 50,000 homes for 208,000 people. Limitless plans to keep the 7 million sq m it still owns for future development. “Our intention is to stay there,” said Lootah.

For the short-to-medium term, Limitless’ focus is developing projects and generating revenues from its Downtown Jebel Ali development in Dubai as it settles its debts with banks and trade creditors. It is currently negotiating with banks on a revised financial restructuring.

The developer recently awarded a AED285m ($77.6m) contract to the local Arco General Contracting for infrastructure work at the development.

“We have been selling at Downtown Jebel Ali,” said Lootah. “It is a good location, and we have started to build the infrastructure. We intend to do more sales there.”

Downtown Jebel Ali stretches 11km along Sheikh Zayed Road, near to Jebel Ali port and freezone as well as Al-Maktoum International airport. The development has more than 300 third-party plots, on which investors will build a mixture of apartments, hotels, offices and retail developments.

On 29 June, Limitless said it will pay AED2.07bn to banks and trade creditors as part of its revised financial restructuring.

“We had an original restructuring plan and a revised one under negotiation with banks, and most banks are already on board,” said Lootah. “We hope that after this news the rest of the banks will join. We are planning to pay a good amount to the banks, about AED1.9bn, and AED17m to trade creditors.”

Limitless is in negotiations with its banks to agree on new terms and conditions for the repayment of the remaining debt, and requires the banks to agree to an extension of period to December 2018. It says almost 90 per cent of the banks agreed to the revised terms. There are 18 banks involved in the restructuring; about 60 per cent of the bank loans were provided by local banks.

The repayment of AED1.9bn in bank debt will include an early payment of AED411m, which is due in December.

The repayment to banks represents 42 per cent of Limitless’ outstanding bank debt of AED4.45bn. Limitless says the repayment reflects the company’s ability to successfully execute its business by achieving sales, including the sale of part of its land bank in Saudi Arabia for AED2.07bn.

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