Work to start on $3bn Tunis harbour project

Tenders already issued for 500-hectare offshore financial centre

NEWS, Business, Gulf Financial House, Tunis

Gulf Finance House (GFH) has said that it "remains committed" to the $3bn project to build a new offshore financial centre in Tunis, and that the project will start on site this month.

In a statement to the stock exchange clarifying comments its acting CEO had made in an interview, the Bahrain-based investment bank said that tenders for the 500-hectare project had been issued and that "construction work will commence from January 2013".

The company's acting CEO Hisham Alrayes had said in an interview with Bloomberg that the bank was looking to exit investments in India and Tunisia so that it can concentrate on high-yield investments. The report added that it planned to gradually sell stakes in the Tunis Financial Harbour next year.

However, in its statement GFH said that it plans to "partially exit client funds from infrastructure projects" such as the Navi Mumbai Mega City scheme.

It added that it was working on investments in "high-yield incom-generating properties in the GCC", and in Dubai in particular.

The Tunis Financial Harbour project is a $3bn scheme set to house North Africa's first offshore financial centre.

It will contain four hubs - an investment banking centre, a corporate centre, an insurance centre and an international finance exchange.

In October, GFH met contractors and government ministers to discuss a schedule for the project, which is set to include housing for 110,000 people. It said that it plans to focus initially on the retail element of the scheme, as well as building its golf course, show villas and apartments.

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