Business conglomerate eyes emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe
Satellite office to look after existing interests and explore new investments
Al Habtoor Group (AHG), the leading UAE business conglomerate, is soon set to open a regional office in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, to service its existing European operations and scout for new investment opportunities. The group, with its wide-ranging interests in the hospitality, real estate, automotive, education and vehicle leasing sectors, plans to expand its enterprise reach in new European markets.
AHG’s existing portfolio in Europe include luxury hotels in London, Budapest and Vienna — Hilton London Wembley; InterContinental Budapest; The Ritz-Carlton Budapest; and Hotel Imperial, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna — as well commercial and office properties Dorottya Udvar and Rumbach Center in Budapest.
The group has long considered the European market a sound investment destination, for its ease of doing business, risk-to-reward ratios and the vibrant economies of its various countries. In the past, AHG’s Founding Chairman Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor has praised the Hungarian and Austrian governments, crediting them with understanding the importance of foreign direct investment, provision of tax benefits and other incentives to both domestic and international investors.
Along with its existing properties and operations in the UK and US, AHG now sees huge potential in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), thanks to its emerging economies, educated and skilled workforces, competitive costs, rapidly upgrading infrastructure, increasing consumer spending and lower inflation rates and corporate taxes.
Al Habtoor said: “I am delighted to announce our expanding presence in Europe, with the upcoming new regional office in Budapest. We have been very successful with our hotels and commercial properties here — which are prime and heritage assets — and look forward to upscaling our operations with other investments in the future. The less-explored markets in Europe are now gaining momentum, offering a competitive edge, an attractive investment climate and higher yield possibilities for foreign players.”
With its new satellite office in Budapest, AHG hopes to make inroads into other sectors besides its existing international interests in hospitality and real estate, as well as explore partnerships with other businesses and entities for new ventures. Expanding its core presence with current operations as well as foraying into other areas of commercial activities is a key strategy adopted by the group, in the light of the current market climate worldwide.