Qatar's Barwa to sell $4.4 billion in assets to repay loans

DOHA/DUBAI Sun Oct 7, 2012 5:20am EDT

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DOHA/DUBAI (Reuters) - Barwa Real Estate BRES.QA plans to sell assets worth 16 billion riyals ($4.4 billion) in Qatar and Egypt to pay down loans, the Qatari property firm said on Sunday.

The assets being sold include land in the Gulf Arab state as well as the Barwa New Cairo project in Egypt. The sale will be reflected in fourth-quarter results, Barwa said in a statement.

Qatar's property market is still recovering from oversupply that saw prices slump in the aftermath of the global economic crisis in 2008. Investors are hoping its successful bid to host the 2022 soccer World Cup will reignite a boom in the sector.

Last year, Barwa laid off approximately 90 employees in a restructuring move, sources said.

In May, group Chief Executive Abdulla al-Subaie said costs had been reduced as a result of restructuring, and the company was now focused on improving the operational side of the business.

Earlier this month, Barwa's deputy group chief executive said it was looking to invest in the London property market before the end of the year, without giving details on potential targets or how much it was willing to invest.

Barwa, Qatar's largest listed property developer, is 45-percent-owned by Qatari Diar, the property arm of the country's acquisitive sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.

Shares of Barwa are up 0.7 percent on the Doha bourse .QSI at 0845 GMT.

(Writing by Amran Abocar; Editing by Dinesh Nair and Mark Potter)

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