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French Version

A loan of JD30m to Zara Arab Bank leads consortium

A loan agreement was signed Tuesday under which a banking consortium extended JD30 million to Zara Investment (Holding) Company.

Led by Arab Bank, the consortium included Jordan-Kuwait Bank, Union Bank for Saving and Investment, Cairo Amman Bank and Arab Jordan Investment Bank.

Present at the signing ceremony, which was held at InterContinental Jordan Hotel, were Arab Bank Chairman/CEO Mr Abdel Hamid Shoman, Zara’s Chairman Mr Sabih Al-Masri and the company’s general manager, in addition to directors of the participating banks.

The loan will be used to finance Zara’s initiative to restructure its debts in line with its future plans, which include expanding and modernizing its existing projects to be in line with the trends of the national economy and its vital sectors, in light of Jordan’s growing role as a tourism destination in the region.

The company will also use part of the loan to finance several new future projects which the company is planning to implement, including important tourist projects such as developing and upgrading the beach area of the Mövenpick Hotel and Resort at the Dead Sea, upgrading Mövenpick Aqaba and Mövenpick Petra, in addition to completing its project within the Tala Bay Resort in Aqaba and continuing its investments within its subsidiaries.

In light of the increasing construction projects, especially within the tourism sector, Shoman said that Arab Bank believes it is essential to participate in providing the necessary financing to companies operating in the construction sector, especially those handling tourism projects, due to their positive impact on the Jordanian economy.

Shoman stressed the need to activate the concept of tourism as an essential source of income for Jordan. He called for creating genuine investment opportunities that meet the requirements of the accelerating growth in tourism and sustain activities in the various aspects of the sector, such as medical tourism, religious tourism, eco tourism and recreational among others.

Masri said that within Zara’s investment strategy and in light of the fact that the company’s assets include 5-star hotels, it always seeks to elevate the quality of Jordan’s tourism product. The company will achieve such a goal, he said, through enhancing its pioneering role in establishing new tourism projects on the one hand, and developing its existing projects with the aim of maintaining the competitiveness of these projects at the local, regional and international levels, on the other.

He said the loan extended by a consortium comprising Jordanian banks led by Arab Bank will be used to meet the finance needs of Zara and to support the company’s investment policies. He noted that the financial performance of the company is witnessing remarkable development in terms of both total operational revenues, which grew by over 30 percent over the past 11 months, compared to the same period last year, and operational profits that increased by more than 53 percent, compared to the same period in 2006.

He noted that all indicators show improvement in the performance of the tourism sector in general, especially the hotel sector, which, he said, will grow at a higher pace in 2008, compared to the current year.

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