Emaar’s Alabbar keen to be part of Saudi’s $500bn NEOM

Alabbar’s Emaar is the joint developer of the King Abdullah Economic City project

Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar is keen to be part of Saudi Arabia’s $500bn Neom project, according to reports.

The Emaar Properties chairman described the 26,500-square-kilometre business and industrial zone linking with Jordan and Egypt as a “big, exciting thing,” according to Saudi publication Arab News.

Read: Saudi appoints CEO of $500bn mega city NEOM

“If they call on us [Emaar], we would look on that positively. The Middle East as a whole is very short on infrastructure, and the project is a very significant addition. If we’re invited to participate, we would be honoured,” he was quoted as saying.

Alabbar is currently a joint investor in $1bn e-commerce site Noon.com with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Emaar is the joint developer of the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) project listed on the Saudi stock exchange.

The ambitious project has been under development since 2005 but has faced repeated challenges.

“It is a long-term project. I would imagine in five or six years we will see a lot more progress. We have to watch the cashflow and the finances according to market conditions,” Alabbar said.

Read: Alabbar’s $1bn site noon.com comes online in the UAE

Noon.com, which competes with Amazon-owned Souq.com, began selling products to UAE customers in late September and is now also making deliveries in the kingdom.

“Amazon is now dropping its prices. Any competition is beneficial to the country and its society. I will not allow any company to come in to a market and dominate the price of milk you give to your child.” Alabbar said.

He added that he would like to do more with the PIF, which is rapidly expanding its size and scope under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, in the future but did not outline any other projects.

Read: Saudi’s PIF aims to manage over $400bn in assets by 2020