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JUNE 2010

PROPERTIES

Have the prices bottomed out in Oman?

INTERIORS

Changing lifestyles influence interior design INSIDE: AFFORDABLE HOUSING

THE WAVE, MUSCAT

FURNITURE

BAIT AL AHLAM

SANITARYW SANITARYWARE

POWER OF BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

PROPERTIES & INTERIORS Concept and content by Akshay Bhatnagar A. Harikumar Susmita De Mohammed Fahmi Rajab Ghalib Abdullah Senior Manager - Dossier Business Unit Shivkumar Gaitonde Senior Art Director Sandesh S. Rangnekar Art Director Minaal G. Pednekar Design Shameer Moideen Khoula Rashid Al Wahaibi Translator Mustafa Kamal Production Manager Govindraj Ramesh Photography Rajesh Burman Sathyadas C. Narayanan CORPORATE Chief Executive Sandeep Sehgal

Waiting for a future surge

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he current issue marks the third anniversary of OER Dossier, Oman’s first and only business-to-business (B2B) publication. We started our journey in 2007 with the aim to create an essential medium to obtain in-depth business information which is not generally available elsewhere; a medium which stimulates ideas that readers can apply in their own work. Whether you are looking for new suppliers for procurement or buyers for your products/services or experts guidance, OER DOSSIER has emerged as your preferred information partner to be ahead of others! We thank our readers and business support partners for their continued trust and faith in us. Moving on, this issue is devoted to the property and interiors industries. The real estate sector in Oman is looking ahead for a future surge and greater prospects. After the corrections in the market in 2009, the property prices and rents have stabilized and have been consistent over the past few months. Builders and property agents with whom we interacted agreed that both domestic and foreign investors are showing willingness to invest in the market again, resulting in an increase in enquiry levels and closure on a number of deals, mainly in the residential segment. At the same time, there seems to be a slight mismatch between demand and supply in the commercial property sector. Overall, property sales have picked up over the past quarter and optimistic sentiment prevails in the local market. Meanwhile, the interior design sector of Oman is slowly evolving. Interior designing, in the past, meant interior decoration. It was confined to the selection of colours and materials. However, currently there is awareness that interior design describes a professional approach to interiors that places more emphasis on basic planning and functional design than decoration. Changing lifestyles are also influencing people to go for new interior design concepts. Many people are hiring the services of professional interior designers now and several luxury hotels and ITCs have their own interior designers. Most importantly the growth of real estate and interior design sectors are translating into business opportunities which also means more employment in the sector. Overall the mood is positive. Sure the year 2010 has turned to be one of hope. Enjoy reading,

Executive Vice President Alpana Roy Vice President Ravi Raman

A. Harikumar Assistant Business Editor

Senior Business Support Executive Radha Kumar Published by United Press & Publishing LLC PO Box 3305, Ruwi, Postal Code - 112 Muscat, Sultanate of Oman Tel (968) 24700896 Fax (968) 24707939 Email: akshay@umsoman.com All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person or organisation acting or refraining as a result of material in this publication. OER accepts no responsibility for all advertising contents. An

Presentation

Copyright © 2010 United Press & Publishing LLC Printed by Mazoon Printing Publishing & Advertising (LLC)

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Commendable Progress A report on the development of Jebel Sifah integrated tourism complex of Muriya Tourism Development

Colours of Life Guest column by Muna Mohsin Baqer

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COLUMN

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2010 R June

2010 R June

DOSSIE 50 OER

DOSSIE 16 OER

June 2010 OER DOSSIER

1

CONTENT

On course The Wave beachfront golf course to open nine holes

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For the people Affordable housing has become the buzz word in Oman’s real estate market

On the path of recovery

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Emerging floor

Property market in Oman has become active with more sales and investment

BofA Merrill Lynch sector view on Dubai property sees silver lining

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24

Intelligent homes Homes with networked electronic devices functioning on their own are to become a reality

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Interview

Evolving awareness

Michael Lenarduzzi, CEO, The Wave, Muscat

Awareness on interior design is catching up in Oman

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OER DOSSIER June 2010

Green Building Shell Development Oman’s Muscat Building, is designed to ensure sustainable use of water and energy

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Location courtesy: The Wave, Muscat

REAL ESTATE OVERVIEW

THE YEAR OF HOPE AFTER DAYS OF UNCERTAINTY, HOPE HAS REAPPEARED IN OMAN’S REAL ESTATE MARKET. THOUGH THE BOOM HAS NOT BEGUN, THE PROPERTY MARKET IS CERTAINLY ACTIVE WITH MORE SALES AND MORE INVESTMENT, WRITES A. HARIKUMAR

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he year 2010 has brought cheer to the real estate market in Oman. Property developers and real estate agents agree at one point; the market has already bottomed and now there is stability. Over the past few months both prices and rents have stabilised. Turnover in the property market has gone up in the first quarter of 2010. 4

OER DOSSIER June 2010

At least in some segments of real estate market, the demand and supply are matching. Ongoing projects in the housing sector, especially in the affordable housing sector are progressing and buyers are active in the market. Real estate agents are getting enquires. At the same time it would be wrong to say that the market has recovered

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completely. The situation is faring better compared to the 2009. Of course, there is a silver lining. ASSET BUBBLE AND AFTERMATH “The market is stable. The year 2008 was the year of the asset bubble after which prices have come down. It has stabilized now,” said M Sudhakar Reddy, General Manager of Al Habib and Company. On the state of affairs in the property market, Reddy said, “Compared to 2008 there is a slowdown but compared to a few years back the market is pretty good.” On the demand and supply side, he said the demand for apartments and supply are evenly matched. But there is an excess supply of villas. On the prices, Reddy commented, “The construction cost has come down and land prices have come down. Therefore housing is much more affordable now than in 2008. But there is nothing like a breakthrough which will make house prices very cheap. One can only say that the current situation is much more affordable than two years back.” People are building all kinds of properties and not only high end properties. “You find a whole lot of buildings in Mawaleh and Al Hail in the affordable range of 80,000-90,000 rial,” he said. There is a lot of demand for affordable houses. The demand is the highest for 80,000-90,000 rial

M Sudhakar Reddy, General Manager, Al Habib and Company 6

OER DOSSIER June 2010

range. The coming up of apartments have made things more affordable. The price range of apartments is pretty affordable. Speaking on the commercial property, Reddy said rents of offices have come down significantly. It is much lower than what existed in the peak in 2008. Given land price and construction costs, prevailing rents in the market give reasonable return to the developer. Comparing the current rents with that of 2008, he said rents have come down. But between 2009 and 10 there won’t be much difference. Between 2008 and 09, there was a drop of 1520 per cent in rents of apartments. On the availability of funds to real estate sector Reddy said banks are lending funds to the real estate sector as long as the borrower is reliable. For the good client funding is not a problem but banks no longer fund speculative activates. “You have to present correct picture of the project,” said he. REALISTIC PRICES Ali Hassan Moosa, General Manager of Alargan Towell Company said prices for residential units in Muscat are now realistic and there is stability in the market. There is increased supply as well as demand. Regarding commercial property, Moosa said there is good supply of very high end and very low end properties. But there is a shortage of commercial property spaces priced in the medium range. The demand is shifting from traditional type of buildings to buildings which are designed intelligently. All the retail space at our Qurum Garden projects have

Ali Hassan Moosa, General Manager, Alargan Towell Investment Company been rented, Moosa said. “According to figures released by the ministry of housing, in the first quarter of the year there is a 62 per cent rise in sale value of property and 11 per cent rise in the sale volumes compared to corresponding period last year,” said Moosa. He pointed out that rentals have become stable. Currently there is a debate in the market as to whether the present cap on increasing rents should be continued or not. There are arguments for and against the cap. The arguments in favour of the cap are that removing it would lead to rent inflation. The arguments against the cap are that it would lead to property owners fixing a higher rent initially. “We need to have more discussions on it,” Moosa said. Speaking about the availability of funds to real estate sector, Moosa said in 2009 banks and investors were unwilling to provide funds to the sector but 2010 is witnessing a change in their attitude. Both banks and investors are willing to lend at present, he said. While many speculators were active in the real estate market earlier, the people who

Housing is much more affordable now than in 2008 but there is nothing like a breakthrough

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buy property now are real investors. People who buy properties now want to live in it,” Moosa said. NO MORE PRICE CORRECTIONS “The property prices peaked in 2008 and have moderately dropped since then,” observed Mohamed Ayjaz, General Manager of Hamptons International. “The phase of price correction that the market had experienced through 2009 is over. We don’t expect any more slashes in prices or rentals as is speculated. We expect the market to move forward. This is especially true to Muscat, the capital area,” he said. Commenting on the tourism properties, Ayjaz said, “Currently, in the capital area there is demand for more five star rated hotels. Supply in this sector is short of demand, he said. In the long term it is very encouraging with the government support, especially in the infrastructure development. The government expenditure is increasing in developing airports, ports and other infrastructure projects. There is going to be an increase in the standard of living and all sectors are going to see growth. Such growth will

Mohammed Ayjaz, General Manager, Hamptons International

Courtesy: Muriya Tourism

REAL ESTATE OVERVIEW

definitely be witnessed in the real estate sector as well,” he said. HOPES FOR FUTURE The property market has dropped considerably in terms of sales values and rental values from late 2008, noted Matthew Wright, development and industrial, Cluttons Oman. But now once again people are confident that the market is looking up and properties are once again receiving investment. There is activity in the sales market. Francis Selvaraj, head of professional services, Cluttons, observed that major banks are now providing loans at present to the housing sector. They are geared up to lend again. The issue facing Muscat, is that of oversupply of properties. There has been a lot of building activity in terms of office space supply. It might be absorbed at a low rate. People are still looking to development but they are more

Property market in Oman is maturing with experience 8

OER DOSSIER June 2010

Francis Selvaraj, Head of Professional Services, Cluttons realistic about their feasibility studies, he added. Residential rental rates are coming down, though there is no dramatic slump. There is nothing to worry about property market. It has a sound basis. “People are much more aware now than they were three years ago. If you are looking for a quick shortterm profit from investments in property market, then it is high risk. But people, who look at a long term investment, will be successful. I think property market in Oman is maturing with experience,” said Francis Selvaraj.

THE WAVE MUSCAT - CEO INTERVIEW

STEADY PROGRESS MICHAEL LENARDUZZI, CEO, THE WAVE, MUSCAT IN A CHAT WITH A. HARIKUMAR SAYS THE PROJECT IS PROGRESSING SATISFACTORILY AND THE CURRENT YEAR WILL BE A MILESTONE IN CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES

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HAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT ON THE OVERALL PROGRESS OF THE WAVE MUSCAT PROJECT TILL NOW AND WHAT PROGRESS YOU EXPECT BY THE END OF 2010?

to open in the Almeria North Section of the development. Following the success of our recent sales launch, potential home buyers can also expect another property sales release by end of this year.

It is very positive and promising, as we have made outstanding progress on a number of key developmental, recreational and residential fronts in the overall master plan of the project. As for 2010, we are expecting to achieve important constructional milestones with the completion of the initial 9-hole golf course facility and the first retail outlets expected

Our vast property development continues to grow at a steady pace. Some of the most prominent recreational and lifestyle features are also advancing at a very satisfactory level. The 400-berth marina is expected to start operations early next year. The Greg Norman golf course is expected to be open for play by 2011. With the first hotel breaking ground

10 OER DOSSIER June 2010

by end of this year, guests will begin arriving during the first quarter of 2013 in one of our five star properties. Over 300 families have already moved in and made The Wave, Muscat their home and destination of choice. WHAT ARE THE STEPS TAKEN TO EXPEDITE THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROJECT SINCE YOU TOOK CHARGE AS THE CEO?

With a project of the size and significance of The Wave, Muscat, it’s important to have a long term vision and to continue to work towards that vision. Even throughout the economically turbulent times, The Wave, Muscat had stood strong and adhered to its long term vision and commitment to the delivery of worldclass products that respect the culture and traditions of Oman. HOW MANY RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES HAVE BEEN SOLD IN DIFFERENT CATEGORIES TILL NOW? WHAT IS THE CURRENT OCCUPANCY LEVEL?

To date, more than 900 exclusive property units comprised of villas, townhouses and apartments have

been sold and over 443 properties have been handed over. An additional 350 properties are currently under construction and are expected to be completed by end of the year. The Wave, Muscat has also become the only real estate development to sell properties off-plan in the Sultanate for a considerable time during our 7th property release in February 2010. It was an exceptional success rate of over 95 per cent of the units sold. 60 per cent of the 169 properties were sold during the first two days alone. DO YOU HAVE ANY ARRANGEMENT TO HELP THE OWNERS WHO BOUGHT PROPERTIES TO RESELL?

The Wave, Muscat works very closely with a number of leading real estate agencies in order to help buyers who wish to resell their properties. We also facilitate the processing of paperwork necessary to effect transfers from one buyer to another. HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE PROGRESS OF COMMERCIAL PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT IN THE PROJECT? WHAT ARE THE ARRANGEMENTS MADE TO HELP RESIDENTS BUY ESSENTIALS AND GET OTHER SERVICES?

The commercial aspect is a key component to the overall development of our master-planned community through the dynamic Al Marsa waterfront Village, which is the largest phase in the development.

To date, more than 900 exclusive property units comprised of villas, townhouses and apartments have been sold. The Village will be the cosmopolitan hub for the project. Once completed, the Village will offer a commercial area of international standards which includes shops, restaurants, and retail outlets amongst others. The Village is also characterized by a number of other recreational and tourist attractions including a 400-berth marina, a large piazza for holding special and community events, a Sailing Academy and 5 star luxury hotels. Several of our retail outlets in the ocean view of the Almeria North Section of Al Marsa Village will be

operational and open for the public by end of 2010. The Wave, Muscat is envisaged to be a future extension of the capital’s retail, hotel and entertainment districts with a wealth of leisure opportunities. WHAT IS THE PROGRESS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF HOTEL PROJECTS IN THE WAVE? WHAT ARE THE BRANDS THAT WILL BE MANAGING THE PROPERTIES?

The current Master Plan has identified four hotel sites. These developments will range from four star hotels to five star luxury hotels. Currently The Wave, Muscat has

June 2010 OER DOSSIER

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THE WAVE MUSCAT - CEO INTERVIEW

signed hotel management agreements with two global hospitality leaders, Kempinski Hotels and Resorts (Kempinski The Wave, Muscat) and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts (Fairmont The Wave, Muscat). We are currently in the process of reviewing potential operators for the four star properties. Our current plans call for the opening of the first hotel in late 2012. WHAT ARE THE ARRANGEMENTS THAT WOULD BE MADE TO ENSURE THE SECURITY OF RESIDENTS OF THE PROPERTY?

To ensure the safety and well being of all our residents and guests, we provide sufficient security roundthe-clock through patrols by the ROP and security guards who are available throughout the various residential sections. The Wave, Muscat’s overall design incorporates a number of passive security surveillance techniques and we continue to work closely with community groups to create a safe and secure environment for our residents and visitors alike. WHAT IS THE FEEDBACK FROM YOUR BUYERS ON THE PRESENT ARRANGEMENT FOR VISAS FOR THEM? DO YOU THINK MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE TO PROMOTE INVESTMENT FROM FOREIGNERS IN ITCS?

The Government of Oman has taken visible and proactive steps to promote tourism and investment opportunities that continue to draw investors to major real estate developments and the country at large. The visa residency laws passed by the Government in recent years have facilitated this process for a wide spectrum of foreign investors from various nationalities, who are interested in making The Wave, Muscat their home. The feedback from our buyers has been very positive, as it is an added advantage which encourages home buyers and their families to live and settle in the Sultanate. 12 OER DOSSIER June 2010

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE CURRENT STATUS OF PROPERTY MARKET IN OMAN, ESPECIALLY ITCS? WHAT ARE THE FUTURE PROSPECTS FOR ITCS?

We believe that both the real estate and tourism markets are very stable and witnessing steady growth. Increased global awareness on Oman’s tourism potential and the Omani Government’s strategic and long term vision which has laid down a solid foundation in terms of infrastructure, foreign investment and free hold property ownership, have led to this growth. Integrated Tourism Complexes (ITCs) are undoubtedly a key component in the growth of both sectors, as they are expected to be a lynchpin in future tourism development. With foreign investment drawn by tax and other commercial exemptions, and with the new Government supported strategies from the Ministry of Tourism, Oman should be well on its way to increasing, even doubling growth in tourism sector this year, resulting in an increase in national employment opportunities. ITCs such as The Wave, Muscat continue to present sound property

investment opportunities due to their diversity that offers a multitude of residential, leisure, entertainment and commercial facilities all in one central location. Through our strategic partnership with the Omani government and the UAE based Majid Al Futtaim Properties, we have managed to uphold the highest standards of excellence to distinguish ourselves as a premier development. THERE IS AN OPINION THAT PRICE TOLERATION LEVELS OF ITC RESIDENCES ARE YET TO BE DETERMINED. WHAT DO YOU FEEL?

After a period of sustained growth in the price of ITC properties, which was fueled by the buoyant conditions that prevailed throughout the region, there was a market correction in 2008, which resulted in prices being re-established at reasonable and sustainable levels. As the market for ITC properties continues to grow and mature, prices will continue to stabilize at normal levels. The market prices have now stabilized, so we can look forward to a steady and sustained growth in the future.

TEE TIME

THE WAVE BEACHFRONT GOLF COURSE TO OPEN NINE HOLES THE FIRST NINE HOLES OF THE COURSE ARE EXPECTED TO BE READY BY THE END OF THE YEAR AND THE ENTIRE 18 HOLES BY 2011

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he Sultanate’s chances of emerging as the preferred golf and tourism destination of the Middle East are set to get a boost as the work of a world class PGA Links golf course is progressing as planned at The Wave Muscat. The first nine holes of the golf course will be ready by the end of the year, said Greg Norman, the designer of the golf course at a press conference recently. Norman, one of the world’s leading signature golf course designers and architects also reviewed the progress of the golf academy, driving range and floodlit par 3 practice facility at The Wave.

18-HOLE COURSE

“The entire 18-hole course is scheduled for opening in 2011. People are looking for unique destinations and tourists want to spend time at the right destinations only,” Norman said. The Wave Golf Course is the only beachfront golf course in Oman and is unique and magnificent. “The seafront location on the tip of the pristine Gulf of Oman and majestic surrounding mountains promise a unique and memorable golfing experience,” he added. FOR SUSTAINABILITY

A lot of attention has been given to preserve every tree in the area, Norman said. “We can’t fight nature and therefore the aspect of sustainability has been given prime importance,” he said. “We took care to choose the right type of grass for the course,” he added. Michael F. Lenarduzzi, CEO of The Wave Muscat said that The Wave Muscat offers a diverse range of residential, leisure, lifestyle and entertainment options and the Greg Norman Golf Course will complement these offerings. “We aim at popularising golf locally and enhancing sports tourism by providing a world acclaimed facility for residents and visitors,” he said.

14 OER DOSSIER June 2010

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The future moving in.

PROPERTY

MURIYA TO HANDOVER APARTMENTS AT JEBEL SIFAH AS MANY AS 156 APARTMENTS WILL BE READY FOR OCCUPATION BY THE END OF 2011. THE BOUTIQUE HOTEL AT THE PROJECT WOULD ALSO BE OPENED DURING THE PERIOD

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affect the project. We have sold all apartments and 70 per cent of villas of the phase I,” he said. Around 75 per cent of properties are sold to Omanis, he added.

Bahaa Kareem, marketing director of Muriya, who updated journalists on the progress of the project, recently said 156 apartments belonging to the phase I of the project will be ready for occupation by early 2011. “The economic slowdown did not

Work is progressing in different stages in all the 18 apartment blocks, while finishing work is nearing completion on five blocks. A mock-up apartment has been completed, with the interiors done, to give a realistic view on design and space. The 63 villas, part of the initial release will be designed in eight different styles of which 41 are nearing completion.

onstruction work at Jebel Sifah, the integrated tourism complex (ITC) being developed by Muriya Tourism Development, is progressing and Phase I customers will start receiving their villas and apartments in the first quarter of 2011.

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The Jebel Sifa complex has one, two and three bed-room apartments fitted with air conditioners, kitchen and home appliances. The prices start from 130,000 rials onwards. OTHER PROJECTS Work on phase I of Muriya projects at Al Sodah Island and Salalah are progressing, said Kareem. The first phase will feature five hotels including one boutique hotel. Nearing completion, the boutique hotel will open in the first quarter of 2011 and will be managed by Muriya Hotel Division. Other hotels will be operated by some of the most reputed and prestigious brands in the hospitality sector that include Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and Missoni Hotel. The remaining one will be operated by a famous French hotel company. All the hotels are expected to be open by 2013. In partnership with the iconic fashion house of the same name, Hotel Missoni will be stylish, intimate, contemporary and eclectic in design. The property with 250 room keys will be designed by Michael Graves and Rosita Missoni will oversee the interiors. Construction for the Missoni Hotel is scheduled to start this year. Kareem said Muriya will shortly announce the release of new units and schemes. Selective hotel managed new apartments and villas will offer a unique rent back guarantee programme and will be operated by top brand hotels, a first of its kind associated with freehold properties in Oman. The new villas to be handed over will have new convenient sizes. An on-site sales office will be set up soon, to further enhance the service to the customers, including site visits. Muriya has also set up a ‘Home Design’ department, and are providing owners furniture packages, interior finishing, audiovisual packages, landscaping and upgrade options.

There are plans to introduce a ferry service from Muscat to the project to provide easy and quick transportation to residents and visitors ACCESS TO THE PROJECT The roads leading to Sifah will be widened for safe access to the destination. The internal roads within the project have already been laid out, providing clear access to the properties and the marina. Final revetment for internal roads will be finished by the beginning of next year. Kareem said that there are plans to introduce a ferry service from Muscat to the project. It would provide easy and quick transportation to residents and visitors. The central hub of ‘Jebel Sifah’ is the marina that will be bustling with an array of activities surrounded by lively restaurants, cafes and apartment blocks with narrow, shaded, cobbled roads when completed. A lot of thought and attention has gone into the planning to ensure that the feel and look of the place remains open and uncluttered, at the same time aesthetically pleasing. The marina was flooded in November

2009 and will be soon ready for berthing boats. High quality weatherresistant pontoons have been put in place that will provide space for up to 150 boats. A promenade will weave through the lively marina town that will also accommodate the marina boutique hotel having 55 rooms. CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY On the welfare measures being carried out by Muriya as part of corporate social responsibilities, Kareem said a beach is being developed in the area which the general public could also avail of. A restaurant has been constructed at the beach which would be run by the local people under the supervision of Muriya, said Kareem. Muriya was established in 2006 when Egypt’s Orascom Hotels and Development (with 70 per cent stake) and Omani government owned Omran (with 30 per cent stake) came together in a joint venture. June 2010 OER DOSSIER

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INTERVIEW

READYING FOR A FUTURE SURGE MOHAMMED AYJAZ, GM, HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL SPEAKS ON THE PROSPECTS AND IMBALANCES OF OMAN’S PROPERTY MARKET

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There needs to be a stringent adherence to the existing zoning

he real estate sector in Oman is looking ahead for a future surge and greater prospects. “There is positive energy in the real estate market”, says Mohamed Ayjaz, General Manager of Hamptons International and Partners LLC, Oman. “The residential sector has acquired stability because of which property as well as land values have been consistent over the past few quarters. With more favourable lending policies of the banks, interest levels in purchase of property will gradually increase thus stimulating investment,” he said. However, it will take some more time for the commercial sector to become stable, he added. There is a slight imbalance between demand and supply with more supply than demand, he said. Caution needs to be observed that the categorical zoning is streamlined with availability of commercial space within the capital area. This will improve the standard of commercial space and create demand for newly constructed and completed commercial buildings. CORRECT IMBALANCES Ayjaz said steps need to be taken to correct the imbalances in commercial property market. “Presently many villas are being converted for commercial purposes which will have an adverse effect on the commercial property market. There needs to be a stringent adherence to the existing zoning. If it happens it would give a boost to upcoming commercial stock in the capital area as well facilitate

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residential property demand in future. It would enhance the standard of living eventually,” he added. “The market is moving forward from the last quarter of 2009 and progressing towards a bright future. The turnover in the property market is very good as a result of good sales,” he said. Long term investment is happening unlike the previous cases of short term investment based on speculation and quick returns,” Ayjaz informed. International investors are showing interest in new projects and developments in Oman which is a very positive indication of growth and progression. “The global economic recession proved the strength of Oman’s economy. The property market of Oman is definitely stable compared to the other property markets in other countries in the region,” Ayjaz said. LIQUIDITY On the availability of funds, he said there is liquidity in the market and it is just a matter of time when investors and prospective buyers gain complete confidence in the market. Mortgage lending has already started. Liquidity is not a problem; good projects are getting the back up of banks. Investors see Oman emerging as a tourism hub. We can foresee a lot of investment coming into the country in the preceding years. On his company’s performance Ayjaz said “2010 started off well for Hamptons. We had 50 per cent growth compared to the corresponding period last year. We expect to double the turnover by the end of the year.”

V-KOOL OMAN AL-KHUWAIR, BESIDE CENTER POINT Tel: 24600103 Email: vkool@omantel.net.om Website: www.iqueямБlms.com www.v-kool.com/envirocare

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE AFFORDABLE HOUSING HAS BECOME A BUZZWORD IN OMAN NOW. THERE IS A NEED FOR ADDRESSING THE TIGHT SUPPLY CONCERNS IN THIS SEGMENT OF OMAN’S PROPERTY MARKET. SUSMITA DE REPORTS

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man’s beachfront and cityscape are dotted with high-end luxurious properties that are much talked about. But for Omanis, who belong to the middle rung of the society, this expensive housing, which is currently available in the market, is not affordable. Affordable housing is the need of the hour as the demand for it is on the rise. There are various reasons for this. STRONG DEMAND FUNDAMENTALS One of the reasons is the young population of Oman. A whopping 60 per cent of Oman’s population is

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below the age of 30 with the average salary earned being RO 600. It is this segment that wants to create their own set-up and want to invest and buy property such as those available on affordable investment schemes. It is estimated that by 2025, the country’s population will swell to 5mn from 3.3mn in 2008. Delve deeper and you will see rent is another factor driving the demand for affordable housing. In the absence of official price statistics for the real estate sector, both rental and sale prices are estimated to have doubled over the past four years. It is a fact that many Omanis are finding it hard to

keep up with rising housing costs. Vacancy rates in rented houses have decreased significantly since 2003, despite an influx of new units. Before the bubble, the apartments which were rented out at 250 rials, reached 600 rials, today the prices have come down and became stable at 450 rials after correction. However, though prices are now stabilizing but they still remain high. According to the Ministry of National Economy monthly statistical bulletin for February, the price index for rent confirmed a 16 per cent increase in January of 2009, compared to the same

The government has done its bit to ensure that Omanis in the middle to low income brackets do not get priced out of the housing market month the previous year. There is a speculation that rent will further go up in 2011 for new properties. The government has done its bit to ensure that Omanis in the middle to low income brackets do not get priced out of the housing market. To limit the impact of the high prices, in June 2008, an amendment was done to a 2007 housing law, which limited the cap on rental price increase to 7 pc per annum for three years, subsequent to the signing of a lease agreement. Under the previous cap, landlords could increase rent up to 15 per cent over two years.

Many Omanis who work in Muscat currently rent but are interested in paying an equated monthly (mortgage) installment that is equal to monthly (rental) rates in order to finance a property purchase. The average income of this particular segment rests between 700 and 900 rials, though that may not be the full picture of his income. His earnings may also come from other sources like stock market, financial support from family, land, shops and rents. In the absence of personal tax, it is difficult to assess people’s income. There is a potential demand for affordable housing which will continue growing as Oman’s large

youth population moves away from joint families to the system of nuclear families. However, in the absence of proper survey, demand cannot be quantified. Oman’s biggest advantage is that it has sprawling land, prices for which had dropped dramatically at one point of time. Location wise, there are two segments of markets, based on personal preferences. There is demand for houses in Muscat city; a sound infrastructure and a happening city life being the reason behind such demand. The Government of Oman is spending a huge amount of money on infrastructure projects like the Southern Express highway and Batinah Coast Highway. Muscat International airport expansion is going on. In short, Muscat is getting connected to the outskirts of the city and there are buyers, who by choice, would like to be located there for comfort and a bigger house, away from

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

the hussle bussle of city life. However, Omanis have not yet come to reconcile to the fact that they can own and live in apartments, which are perceived as smaller, closed space. The general preference is for more open space as in villas. Developers need to raise awareness among buyers to invest in this kind of property. Muscat is becoming a much denser city, which is making affordable housing increasingly important. Certain areas are zoned and rezoned for allowing the higher density development, based on the infrastructure provided around them. Affordable houses have to be vertical for infrastructural reasons, says Francis Selvaraj, Head of Professional Services, Cluttons.

THE SUPPLY SIDE ACCOUNT According to the latest statistics from MONE, the wholesale price index, for building materials in Muscat fell to 163.2 in the fourth quarter of 2008, down from the peak of 186.3 in the previous quarter. The index is expected to plummet as the cost of steel, cement and other materials

remain low due to decreased worldwide demand stemming from the global meltdown. This dip in construction and materials costs has spurred developers to deliver more units to the expanding middle income market. Their high price was once a prohibitive factor in building affordable housing. But with the situation easing out, developers are now looking to increase their presence in the sustainably affordable housing sector or on reasonably priced properties. Pressure on supply is building up. Companies like Alargan Towell Investment, Zain Property Development and a few others are moving in to take advantage of low-cost constructions. Family-owned company Zain Property Development launched its debut development project Dar Al Zain, which covers a 62,000 square metre site in Seeb (Mabellah and Al Hail). Designed and constructed around the requirements of the Omani community – to be precise, Omani middle income families, the US$44 million project will include 184 townhouses and villas. The project will be developed in four phases, with the first expected to be completed by June 2010. The entire project is scheduled for completion by Q4 2012. It had a good start with all the 36 five-bedroom villas in phase one being sold out. In January 2009, Elite Properties was appointed by the developer Abraj Azumurud, as the exclusive sales and marketing agent for the 10-storey mixeduse residential commercial tower project ‘Abraj Azumurud 1’ situated in

Affordable housing is gradually becoming a social need, where end users look for quality and design at reasonable prices 22 OER DOSSIER June 2010

Hassan Mohammed Juma Managing Director & President ERA Real Estate – Oman

Muscat’s “Growth Corridor” of Al Khoud. It was, ERA Real Estate whichhad initiated the idea of affordable housing a few years ago and successfully marketed 300 units in 2007-2008. Generally, an affordable property hovers between 50,000 and 70,000 rials. Affordable housing has become a buzzword now. Property market crashed and developers realized that a vast majority falls in this bracket. The prevailing global conditions, stabilizing prices and low construction costs, are opening the door to affordable housing projects. Though they are needed to address the tight supply concerns in the country’s property market, the development process at present is ad hoc and not much planned, as market gurus are saying. “The biggest challenge for developers is the high price of land and it should be subsidized. Affordable housing means your land cost should be minimal compared to total cost of the project. That way prices are still high for affordable housing as availability of affordable land is scarce. A developer may get a good price for developing a residential property. He may also deliver the project with costeffectiveness and call it affordable housing. But to replicate this into a number of mega projects to cater to the interests of the people, one would need the government’s support in subsidizing land.

“With customers being more demanding and price conscious, they want all facilities like shopping complex, medical centre, and good roads around, in short, a proper infrastructure has to be in place. Also, market being dynamic, planning is crucial for a well rounded development. Investors should look at micro-changes in the market,” says Hassan Mohammed Juma, Managing Director and President, ERA Real Estate – Oman. ROLE OF BANKS While banks in Oman were till recently cautious in the face of the current global climate, they have developed a positive outlook where lending facilities are concerned. To tap the larger market, Zain Property has tied up with Bank Sohar and National Bank of Oman (NBO). For its customers, Bank Sohar is providing

home loan up to 30 years at 7.75 per cent interest with a minimum down payment of 20 per cent. Personal finance is available for projects such as Abraj Azumurud 1, with up to 70 times the basic salary being lent which can be repaid over a period of up to 15 years. Most of the banks do financing based on joint income of partners. A SOCIAL NEED Affordable housing is gradually becoming a social need, where end users will look for quality and design at reasonable prices, though purchasers today have become more judicious in buying property and want its tangible deliverables to give them confidence in the product. In today’s market, occupiers want to pay the right price and not high premiums for properties. They are looking for prices that match their need. Credibility of a project is a major deciding factor

among buyers today. This cautious attitude of people towards purchasing real estate in the Sultanate is what makes a sales agent’s job much more challenging than previous years. It is time for developers to regroup, reassess, re-strategise on selling off plan developments and collecting funds from its investors. The real estate market is going through a period of correction at the moment and will most definitely right itself in due course and will reap the benefits of its cautious measures currently in place. “2010 is the period of rational investment. Good for market,” says Hassan Mohammed Juma in an optimistic tone. Now is the time for zeroing in on developing mass scale housing.

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Professional property services Oman | Dubai | Bahrain | Abu Dhabi | Sharjah

(+968) 24564250 cluttons.com/oman

ASSET MARKET

DUBAI: HOPES AND REALITIES THE BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH SECTOR VIEW ON UAE PROPERTY NOTES THAT DUBAI’S PRIME ASSET MARKET MAY HAVE REACHED A FLOOR

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he BofA Merrill Lynch sector view on Dubai property sees an emerging floor for prime and retail assets despite structural hangovers and overcapacity. However, it also expects average residential prices to fall by 15 per cent this year. “We see an emerging floor for prime assets, particularly in the retail sector, which has the smallest supply pipeline,” notes the report by Karthik Sankaran, Abdelrali El Jattari and Stephen Pettyfer, analysts of BofA Merrill Lynch. The experts state that demand is price elastic and cyclical growth in Dubai’s core retail, trade and tourism sectors are likely to resume despite quasisovereign debt issues.

Dubai has demonstrated a remarkable capacity to sustain premium rents and pricing power despite the perceived saturation. Nowhere is this more apparent than the fairly robust performance of retail assets. The retail will be the first real estate asset class to demonstrate medium-term growth. A modest 4 per cent decline in rental revenues is expected in 2010, but 3-4 per cent growth is also expected in 2011-12. Average mall rents, despite softening 18-25 per cent in 2009, still command US$900sqm pa. The report expects continued softening in smaller retail enclaves and older malls, due to rising competition from new-generation malls. Top destination malls still claim to have

waiting lists, while recent supply has been absorbed without much strain, the view adds. TRANSACTIONAL VOLUMES REMAIN WEAK The report notes that Dubai’s real estate market was built on ‘freewheeling’ off-plan capital flows and needs transition towards enduser driven demand, in the medium term. There are formidable challenges also as neither regulation nor demographics are favourable for the creation of a true end-user market in the near term. The cost of ownership is simply too expensive to lure potential buyers; prices have yet to adjust to reflect excess inventory and transaction volumes remain sluggish.

NO DOUBLE DIP RECESSION There is little evidence of the feared ‘double dip’ recession and on the contrary there are signs of recovery. However, what is critical near term is the renewed government commitment to reduce the spectre of imminent default by rescheduling and repaying shortterm debt. This, in itself, should rebuild confidence, which would aid the ongoing private sector recovery. RESIDENTIAL PRICES TO FALL On the residential sector, the cost of ownership is still prohibitive and regulatory environment remains unfavourable. Specifically to Dubai, which has been dependent historically on foreign capital flows, regulatory changes that would again June 2010 OER DOSSIER

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permit property owners to gain long-term residency (withdrawn in 2008) would be a strong positive. More needs to be done to ‘triage’ and segregate viable projects from those that have little hope of completion. Further on the pricing environment the market has ‘conquered’ the first two phases of the down cycle; namely the exogenous liquidity and confidence shock in 4Q08 and the second round chain reaction in terms of employment contraction. However, a final leg-down is expected as the market has yet to fully price for excess inventory. The average residential prices will decline by 15 per cent in 2010. Residential rents have fallen almost 50 per cent from peak levels (30 per cent for prime villas and apartments) – in effect back to late 2006 levels. Rents are likely 26 OER DOSSIER June 2010

to remain more resilient than capital values and have plateaued in established neighbourhoods. Transaction volumes are still 60-70 per cent below peak levels according to brokers. WHAT WILL SHAPE THE MEDIUM-TERM OUTLOOK? The biggest medium-term risk to the thesis of a ‘soft landing’ from this point is not merely oversupply, but the possibility of foreclosures and mass market auctions (so far nonexistent) creating another round of distressed sales. Mass liquidation of unsold inventory is unlikely to be permitted. The sustainability of Dubai’s real estate market will depend on policy measures to convert transient expatriate employees into permanent residents and opening up long term capital market funding options for the real estate sector.

The report visualises demand transitioning from primarily offplan ‘bulk’ investors to end-users and buy-to-let investors who would place a greater premium on location and infrastructure factors over short-term capital gains and the ‘work in progress’ or ‘construction site’ status of several development zones, which were built speculatively. NEAR-TERM: PRICE ADJUSTMENT INCOMPLETE The number of residential units, four and five start hotel rooms and completed office space will go up in 2011. However, no additional mall space is expected for the next two years. The retail sector is likely to benefit from regional consumption flows. INWARD MIGRATION NOT A PANACEA The average residential prices are expected to fall by 15 per cent in

The report expects average residential prices to fall by 15 per cent in 2010, following a 45 per cent decline from 3Q08 peak. 2010, following a 45 per cent decline from 3Q08 peak levels. “We see a rational unwinding and market segmentation over the medium term. We believe inward migration (from surrounding emirates) will support established residential locations, but this is not a panacea. Even if all qualifying expats from Abu Dhabi and Sharjah relocated to Dubai tomorrow, we estimate that there would still be 44,000 vacant units in 2010 rising to 73,000 by 2011. This would

require a CAGR in population of 8% in 2009-11 to fill the empty space – a tall order. Clearly, inward migration should support rents in high-quality residential zones but is insufficient, on its own, to absorb surplus stock,” the report says. HOSPITALITY PROFITABLE The report notes that tourist inflows more than doubled as well as the total four and five star room supply tripled during the period from 2000-08. Visitor arrivals in 2009

is estimated at 7-7.5m, (flat to -5% YoY), which would place Dubai in the top-10 most visited cities globally. In terms of performance, Dubai suffered the most significant decline across the region in 2009 with revenues per available room (REVPAR) down by 33 per cent to US$170 (vs 15-20 per cent across the region) and an occupancy rate of around 73.3 per cent versus 82.6 per cent in 2008. “At the trough, we believe occupancy levels hit 60-65 per cent in summer 2009,” says the report. However, REVPAR has started showing signs of stabilization in 2010, down just 2 per cent YoY in February 2010 with occupancy rising to 79 per cent YTD, concludes the report.

FORECAST

MOODY’S FORECASTS BLEAK YEAR FOR ARABIAN GULF PROPERTY MARKET SUPPLY-DEMAND IMBALANCE WILL CONTINUE TO SLOW DOWN PROPERTY MARKET RECOVERY IN THE REGION

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he supply-demand imbalance remains a key driver of the continued negative outlook for the property industry in the Arabian Gulf, says Moody’s Investors Service in a new Industry Outlook report. The negative outlook reflects the rating agency’s view of fundamental credit conditions in the industry over the next 12-18 months. “The supply-demand imbalance in commercial property and to some degree in residential units, depending on the city or country, is likely to

grow worse as vast supply meets slack demand and is a major driver of our negative outlook,” says Martin Kohlhase, a Moody’s Assistant Vice President – Analyst and author of the report. In the report, Moody’s notes that the other drivers of the outlook remain the same as in 2009, namely funding and the preservation of cash, which includes potential disposals of non-core assets, cash collection and debt standstill agreements. Moody’s believes that these factors will

The large, growing and young population of Saudi Arabia continues to support local residential market

remain in place for the rest of 2010, albeit with a different emphasis from the previous year. RATINGS DOWNGRADED The rating agency further notes that it has downgraded the ratings of all GCC issuers with real estate exposure over the past 12 months. The average rating of A2 at the beginning of April 2009 now stands at Ba1, a five-notch drop. This is largely a reflection of lower government support assumptions that had underpinned a number of ratings. However, although Moody’s industry outlook for the region as a whole is negative, it notes that significant differences continue to exist across the region, with Saudi Arabia seen as the brightest spot of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. “The large, growing and young population of this Kingdom continues to support the local residential market,” explains Kohlhase. Furthermore, rent and sale prices have remained stable in prime areas, while limited price correction has been witnessed on the outskirts,” says he. The rating agency says that several factors could prompt a revision of the outlook to stable, including government spending for public infrastructure work; government intervention; a shortage of lowand middle-income housing and international expansion. “However, we do not envisage moving to a stable outlook in the near term,” Kohlhase cautions.

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HOUSING PROJECTS

ALARGAN TOWELL GROUP WHICH IS SUCCESSFUL IN THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING SECTOR IS ALL SET TO REPEAT THE SUCCESS IN OTHER SEGMENTS OF REAL ESTATE ALSO. THE COMPANY HAS A LONG TERM VISION AND MANY MAJOR PROJECTS ARE IN THE PIPELINE

AFFORDABILITY WITH QUALITY

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largan Towell Investment company, one of the first companies to enter the affordable housing market in Oman, has diversified with strong presence across different segments of real estate market including commercial, residential and tourism sectors. Despite the general slowdown and

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correction in the real estate market, the construction of several projects of the group has moved forward and some of them are in the finishing stages. The commercial properties being developed by the group and its prestigious Bandar Al Khiran Resort and Spa, which would be managed by the Oberoi group, are fast progressing. In an interview to OER Dossier, Ali

Hassan Moosa, general manager of the Alargan Towell said the success of the group is a result of combining superior quality with affordability. On the projects completed by the group, Moosa said the Mawaleh project which involves 72 residences and five shops has been completed. The Al Hail project involving 100 residences and a commercial complex

has also been completed. Both have been successful. ONGOING PROJECTS A number of projects of the group are progressing. The phase I of Al Khoudh project which will have 48 residential units will be ready next year. On the whole, the project will have 126 residential units, 4000 sq. metre of retail space and a mosque. Another project in the finishing stage is the Al Qurm Garden project. It has 41 top end residential units as well

Moosa said one is Barka Community Project and the other is Barka Beach Resort Project. The community housing project will be developed on plot of area 683,000 square metre. It would have 2500 residential units. The project will be completed in phases. Moosa added that the infrastructure development of the project will be started before the end of the current year. The tourism project which will be developed on a plot of area 620,000 sq. metre will include a marina, hotel, residential

The major projects in the pipeline projects are Barka Community Project and Barka Beach Resort Project as commercial building for rent and office spaces. It is ideally located at the heart of the city opposite to Rose Gardens,” said Moosa. He pointed out that the project had won two CNBC awards for the best developer and the best architecture. The Bandar Al-Khiran Resort which will be operated by the Oberoi group will be ready by 2012. The resort will have 82 suites with sea view and independent swimming pools. The resort will also feature a unique spa, Moosa said. Other projects which will start shortly are the Qurm Rock and Salalah Residential project, said Moosa. “The Qurm Rock will be a mix use property which will be developed on 164,000 sq. metre plot. It has got all approvals and site clearance and the infrastructure development will start shortly. The infrastructure work of Salalah residential project will start this year, said Moosa. It will have 90 residential units. FUTURE PROJECTS Speaking on the major projects of the Alargan Towell in the pipeline,

units and retail space. “We are hopeful to start the project next year,” said Moosa. Answering questions on the viability of huge projects based in Barka, Moosa said “Barka has great potential and five years from now we see a boom awaiting Barka. Once the coastal highway is completed and the proposed railway becomes a reality, Barka will experience great development,” he said. Commenting on the impact of global economic slowdown on the group, Moosa said the strategy adopted by the company and its emphasis on quality has helped it to tide over the general crisis successfully. “Our emphasis was on superior quality at affordable price and we did not have to change our strategy. Customers check track record of developers while buying and we are proud to say that we never sold on paper.” In the boom days many reckless speculators bought properties and burnt their fingers. But now real investors buy the property.

They are buyers who buy property to live in it. There will be a great demand for affordable housing which means residential units priced around 70,000 - 100,000 rials onward,” he said. CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY On the corporate social responsibility programme of the group, Moosa said, “At Al Hail and Al Khoudh we have built a mosque for the whole community and have promised jobs for qualified local people residing nearby in the Bandar Al Khiran Resort. We will also provide a marina (jetty) for the fishermen at the village itself,” Moosa said. We have promised the Ministry of Environment a location for their research centre at the site of our Barka Beach Resorts Project, said Moosa. Answering questions on the performance of the group in 2010, Moosa said the performance was good. “We have more sales and our projects are progressing fast,” he said. Commenting on the state of affairs in the real estate market in Oman, Moosa said the real estate market in the Sultanate is at present stable. The market has already seen a correction and prices are now stable. There is an increase in both demand and supply of property which is matching, he said.

Ali Hassan Moosa General Manager

Alargan Towell Investment company

June 2010 OER DOSSIER

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SPONSORED FEATURE

DOLPHIN VILLAGE / YAHYA CONSTRUCTION LLC.

Living high — an envious lifestyle! Dolphin Village has been established for 27 years and since that time it has built a sound reputation for providing its residents with quality homes

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e have many people who come back to Dolphin Village after living here before. They return because we provide an unmatched quality of lifestyle that you will not find anywhere else in Muscat,” vouches Tajamal Iqbal Jami, General Manager, Yahya Construction L.L.C. Currently undergoing an extension, the complex is building 326 modern units. Phase one of the development has already been completed, successfully delivering 65 new units. The final complex will consist of 44 one-bedroom flats, 64 two-bedroom flats and 128 threebedroom flats, along with 31 two and three-bedroom townhouses and 51

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Tajamal Iqbal Jami General Manager

Dolphin Village Yahya Construction LLC Contact: yacostgm@omantel.net.om Tel: 24591366 32 OER DOSSIER June 2010

Phase one of the development has already been completed, successfully delivering 65 units

SPONSORED FEATURE

CLUTTONS

From strength to strength Reputed for professionalism and integrity, Cluttons is uncompromising in its business practices and therein lies its core strength PHILIP PAUL, MRICS, HEAD OF COUNTRY, CLUTTONS

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luttons, one of the leading firms of chartered surveyors and property consultants in the UK, has positioned itself in the Middle East favourably for more than three decades, setting up offices across the Gulf region. The company has also set up offices in Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Oman and through its committed service, it has acquired significant regional expertise. A qualified team of professionals is Cluttons’ strong point, offering professional services related to real estate. Investors are largely benefitted by their rich experience, sound advice, and knowledge of the market. Among the four qualified surveyors from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Cluttons, Oman has a total of 66 years of property experience of which 35 years has been in the Gulf. SERVICES OFFERED Cluttons offers professional services like conducting market studies, feasibility studies, international and local valuations and development consultancy across all property asset types, which includes, residential (Gated communities and multi-storied buildings), commercial residential, mixed-use, commercial (retail and offices), and industrial properties and ITCs. Leasing of villas, apartments, developments, office, retail and office

spaces are also included in Cluttons services repertoire. For each valuation, Cluttons carries out extensive research and with a large team directly in touch with the market, it quotes exact value, without compromising on the quality of reports. Its strict adherence to principles has helped it earn goodwill in the market. Development consultancy, on the other hand, enables established developers and potentially new players in the market to identify the right property where the investment should be made. “This comes to us from a deep understanding of the market. We have been established in Oman since 1985. Developers seek our expertise to understand the demand supply factors, the type of units that has to be brought into the market and the pricing levels,” says Francis Selvaraj, Head of Professional Services, Cluttons. EXPLORING NEW TERRITORIES Cluttons has recently established a telecommunications team which is involved in locating facilities for a major telecommunications operator. “With offices based in London, Russia, Greece, Italy and Spain, we are part of very strong international network. Our strength is our knowledge and experience across the wide range of fields and we try to bring very different perspective to our services,

be it warehouse logistics, telecom, or retail. That is our differentiating factor with other companies and one of our core strengths; despite being the oldest property company, we are very innovative and look at different niche markets to get into. We introduced specialism in retailing segment. That feature sets us apart from other property companies in the Sultanate,” says Matthew Wright, Developmental and Industrial Services, Cluttons. Apart from government organizations, the other high profile clients of Cluttons include major private property landlords, all of the major local and international banks, and many international corporate clients operating in the region.

Francis Selvaraj

Head of Professional Services Contact: 2456 4250 Website: www.cluttons.com/oman

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INTERIOR DESIGN

INTERIOR DESIGN EVOLVES IN OMAN AWARENESS ON INTERIOR DESIGNING IS SLOWLY CATCHING UP IN THE SULTANATE AMONG DIFFERENT SECTIONS. A. HARIKUMAR ANALYSES THE LATEST TRENDS

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nterior design in the Sultanate is beginning to evolve. Here as well as in the most parts of the world, in the past, interior design at initial stage meant interior decoration. It was confined to the selection of colours and materials only. However, interior design today describes a professional approach to interiors that places more emphasis on basic planning and functional design than decoration. But the situation is fast changing. Of 34 OER DOSSIER June 2010

late, the science of interior design is gaining acceptance in Oman. Several leading projects including the integrated tourism complexes have their own qualified interior designers to take care of interior design aspects of the project. SCIENTIFIC COLLEGE OF DESIGN In the Scientific College of Design, Muscat an interior design programme is being offered to aspiring learners by a group of qualified professionals. Dr. Mona

Kamal Ismail, head of interior design department pointed out that the college is the only one in the entire GCC region specializing in design and arts. The college which offers bachelor degree and diploma in interior and graphic design as well as fine arts programmes is affiliated to The Lebanese American University. The curricula are based on a liberal art model of education. The programme offers theory and history courses as well as technical courses and design studios.

Though the country does not have a professional organization of interior designers or set standards on interior design, these are likely to happen in the near future. Students who graduated from the college are working in different institutions in the capital such as furniture stores, consultancy offices, and specialised design firms. Some of them plan to open offices in interiors of the Sultanate also, thereby spreading awareness of interior design even in far flung areas. Presently there are a group of qualified Omani men and women who graduated from the college working as interior designers which will lead to local influences in interior design. Many companies are hiring students from the college as interior designers once they graduate. FUNCTIONAL ASPECTS OF INTERIOR DESIGN Speaking on the importance of interior design, Dr. Mona says interiors of a home or a commercial institution could be done in a way which would make people more comfortable and more efficient. Professional interior design can assist special groups like children, physically challenged individuals, or older adults to maintain their independence.

Oman maintain traditional space division such as separate Majlis for men and women. The exterior architecture of buildings in Muscat has a unique style due to the standards set by Muscat Municipality. The interior has to somewhat reflect the same style as the exterior. Interior design trends in Oman currently are influenced by the Asian and South East Asian trends. Omani culture is colourful which is influenced by Indian and Persian trends, noted Dr. Mona. Presently, the furniture used is mainly imported from Malaysia and China which has dark colours, she said. The awareness on eco friendly paint and fabrics which could be used is yet to catch up in the Sultanate. People still use paints to impart colour to walls and use of wall paper is not popular, Dr. Mona noted. For flooring, marble and porcelain

tiles are the norm. Interior design involves making any space into an effective setting for the range of human activities taking places there. It is essential to improve the quality of life in residential, commercial, and public settings. It is interesting to note the increasing development of such a field in Oman. Muna Baquer, an expert interior designer noted that the idea of interior designing is yet to become popular in Oman. Here when one builds a home they visit neighbours’ homes and replicate ideas of interior design. When you enter houses in Oman you don’t feel the differences, she said. Floorings are the same, ceilings are the same and colour scheme is also the same which is all white. People take whatever available in the market.

Interior Design involves making any space into an effective setting for the range of human activities taking place

Familiar examples of commercial interior design to serve business purpose are evident at fast food restaurants which use warm colours and not so comfortable chairs which make people finish their food quickly. Several financial institutions organise space inside their office to help users with efficient circulation. They use diverse colours at different counters to differentiate services quickly. It makes people who arrive at the place identify the counter where the service which they need is provided. Interiors of residential buildings in June 2010 OER DOSSIER

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Sometimes they would approach painters and ask what is available. There is significant French influence in the interior design of houses here. Window panes and columns are all French. Once you enter an Omani home there is separate majilis for men and women, corridor, another hall, staircase, three to four rooms scattered and a small family room. This is the normal trend, she said. Interior designing in some of the big hotels in Oman is influenced by Omani traditions. The Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa is an example of Omani traditions in interior design. However, increasing awareness on interior designing is also resulting in people giving importance to ensure functionality while designing specific areas of their home and offices. MODERN SANITARY SOLUTIONS Presently trend is catching up among 36 OER DOSSIER June 2010

the high end users including top hotels and offices to select sanitary ware, lighting solutions and furniture carefully so as to match each other and provide maximum comfort. Builders, interior designers and providers of electrical and sanitary solutions work in close coordination during the construction of many high end homes, hotels and offices. Bathroom is one of the areas where a lot of planning and innovation is happening. Modern bathrooms have become a place to relax and refresh. As the awareness is becoming very high, those at the high end opt for designer sanitary wares, says a top end dealer of sanitary wares. Along with hassle free functioning people want exclusive sanitary wares for their homes. Aesthetics have become an important concern of the high end users along with the functionality aspect. The market may see many innovations

in interior designing of bathrooms in the coming days. Several leading companies are planning to introduce new products also in the segment this year. Awareness on ecology is also catching up slowly. Eco-friendly products are already available in the market. Though the present trend indicates that majority prefer to paint their walls but this trend may also change in the coming days with the introduction of wall papers. An exclusive wall paper shop is coming up in the capital city. It is planning to introduce different varieties of wall papers in Oman market which are not available here. With people developing an interest for interior designing and more professional interior designers offering services in the market, it seems that the business of interior designing is all set to flourish in Oman in the coming days.

INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY

HOME SMART HOME INTELLIGENT HOMES, WITH NETWORKED ELECTRONIC DEVICES FUNCTIONING IN AN AUTOMATED WAY PERFORMING MULTIPLE TASKS ON ITS OWN, ARE TO BECOME A REALITY IN THE NEAR FUTURE 38 OER DOSSIER June 2010

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he grocery stock in your refrigerator is running low. Your internet connected smart fridge realises it and places an order with the local grocer; Your wife does not have time to set the coffee maker everyday to use the correct amount of coffee powder and water to brew to your exact liking but the device knows it and makes accordingly; likewise, your television set needs to be repaired and the smart device sends a request to the nearest authorised service centre itself. These are not scenes from the latest Steven Spielberg movie where devices perform intelligently or a possible situation after a century when aliens have taken over the control of earth after getting the better of humans in a ‘close encounter’ as visualised by Stephen Hawking. These are some of the activities which intelligent devices being planned by scientists to make our lives more convenient will be able to perform. Some of these devices like the smart refrigerator are already a reality though they have not become common. Others are in the making and would be a reality in the near future. It would not be too long when these smart devises would have made your home really smart. It is reported that smart guys like Bill Gates already own smart homes. Automation controls everything from lighting to security at Gate’s $113 million smart home on the shores of Lake Washington. Now beyond the vignettes of smart devices what is smart home technology really? It is the technology which makes all electronic devices in a house function in a more automated way and perform multiple tasks. All major appliances at home will be connected through home

networks and internet. It will enable ordinary electronic appliances to communicate with each other, consumers as well as manufacturers. A smart home can be defined as the one which is networked. It will give the householder more free time by performing on its own. Hark, but smart home is not only these. It means much more. It will make life easier and improve efficiency and help to reduce expenses. Smart home technology actually uses existing technology. A smart device is simply an ordinary device but the difference is that it will have a sophisticated computer attached to it. Smart home will become common as internet penetration increases. Smart technology could also operate with the help of wireless or Bluetooth. The networking will be the foundation on which a smart home will operate. SMART KITCHEN Smart technology holds great potential for future kitchens. Devices including refrigerators, micro waves and coffee makers will use the technology. The LG Electronics have already marketed smart refrigerators which can be connected to the internet and are able to perform a variety of tasks. This refrigerator is able to download recipes from the net and display it on its LCD screen and also display the details of the list of items inside and its quantity. Next generation microwaves will also be smart and will be able to communicate with refrigerators. It could be programmed to start at fixed times. Ovens and stoves will also operate in a similar way in future. In the smart kitchen, wastages will be minimal and there won’t be overcooking. SMART LIVING ROOMS Here smart stereos and televisions

will provide a new entertainment experience. The televisions will perform all the functions which could be done by a personal computer. Internet capable televisions will provide the viewer with the option of making purchases at the pushing of a button of the remote control. Interactive televisions which will enable the viewer to shop, entertain or take part in a particular programme along with participants will adorn the smart living rooms of future. Television will mean more than viewing and it will allow viewers to participate in game shows. Internet connected air conditioners will have self adjusting capacity depending upon the number of people and will make cooling process more efficient. This will save a lot of energy and money. SMART BATHROOMS Showers will be able to perform as per the needs of individual users and will control water temperature and pressure according to the needs of the individual. Smart toilets will have self cleaning abilities which will adjust flush settings as per the need. A prominent feature of the smart devices will be its self-diagnostics capabilities. They will be able to alert customers when there is a fault and will communicate with the service centre independently. Home security devises will also coordinate with your mobile phones and laptop giving you the ability to monitor home wherever you are. The devices networked with the police stations will go a long way in ensuring total security thereby making your life safe and smart. June 2010 OER DOSSIER

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VIEWPOINT

BUY GENUINE HUSSAIN AHMED MOHSIN, DIRECTOR OF AHMED MOHSIN TRADING LLC, SHARES HIS VIEW ON THE COUNTERFEIT TRADE IN THE SULTANATE OF OMAN. SUSMITA DE REPORTS

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ery recently a megastore in the Sultanate of Oman has warned its customers of buying a top-end product from any shop other than theirs. A reproduction of the original product is available in the market. In business parlance, it is a counterfeit, eating into the revenue margins of the authentic product. Not only the upscale market, but also the mass markets are flooded with counterfeit pipe fittings, general building materials, faucets, sanitary ware, cardboard cutters and tools from Far Eastern countries. 40 OER DOSSIER June 2010

The consumer is under the impression that he is buying a genuine product. But when it breaks or does not last for years, then it poses a challenge for all its stakeholders – companies as well as consumers. It completely destroys the consumer confidence in the brand name as he has bought a spurious product. The company also loses its credibility by word of mouth. It is always a disheartening lose–lose situation. Companies are now working very hard to stem the flow of counterfeit products. Buying counterfeit has socio-

economic and environmental implications. Possibilities for accidents really happening are enormous with the safety element missing from fake products. There is every possibility that heads breaking off from fake nails can fly into the carpenter’s eye. This is just one of the examples. Counterfeit manufacturers, for whom profit is the prime mover and not credibility, often do not follow eco-friendly process. So anybody who is buying counterfeit products is actually supporting a whole chain of activities. It cannot be called a singular act anymore.

TELL-TALE SIGNS FOR FAKES If people stop buying counterfeit products, they will surely go out of steam. It is up to the consumer not to support them by buying them. But consumers could ask a pertinent question --- how to identify a counterfeit product?

Apart from economic implications, safety and environmental issues are also involved here high due to high standards of R & D, overheads, marketing expenses, etc.” He continues, “I’ll never sell anything that is not genuine. The consumer has to be aware where he is buying the product.”

Here are some clues: Demand a warranty: All genuine articles come with a specific guarantee/warranty. Fakes generally do not carry such writings. In that case, a consumer should look for warranty in writing. In case of any problem, it is advisable to take the product back to the retailer, and if it is a fake product, they will not honour the guarantee for sure. Inspect the packaging with care: Reputable businesses take great care in packaging their products. Quality products have quality packaging. Today many companies are trying to go green and minimize packaging. But will never sacrifice the quality of the packaging. If you come across any flimsy packaging, packaging with substandard printing or running colors, or packages that appear to have been opened, then you can rest assured that this is a fake product. Also, spare sometime to actually read the package. You will come across glaring faux pas in English as well as in Arabic. Spelling or grammatical errors are common on the packaging for counterfeit goods. Boxes of counterfeit toothpaste that showed up in U.S. stores in June 2007 had several obvious typographical errors, including “SOUTH AFRLCA” and “Assoxiation.” So there is a genuine need for educating consumers or end–users. Manufacturers can play a major role in this awareness building exercise. It always helps to be alert. “Be careful where you shop, and always be vigilant. However, it is always 42 OER DOSSIER June 2010

Hussain Ahmed Mohsin Director better to buy from authorized dealers,” says Hussain Ahmed Mohsin, Director of Ahmed Mohsin Trading LLC. Manufacturers of counterfeit products take pictures or make copies of the original. It looks the same but the quality of the material is definitely not the same, which is why one pays a lower price. Cost of production being low, counterfeits are generally cheap, though they cannot be sold too cheap for the fear of giving themselves away. There is a 20 to 30 per cent difference between a genuine product and a fake. Only a discerning eye can tell a fake from genuine products. But even then common sense helps. The tactile quality of tools can certainly help a consumer to differentiate them from their fake counterparts. However, it should be remembered that counterfeit products are also bought and encouraged as a cheap alternative, all for a bloating margin. Hussain further says, “When you buy a sanitary ware, you will expect it will last 15 to 20 years. So it has to be genuine, though it will be expensive as the cost of production will be

When it comes to buying tools, a consumer walks in to a shop looking for those multi-use knives or cardboard cutters. It would cost him less than a rial. He might not be concerned with its authenticity, as it is a very simple product doing a very simple job. But at the end of it, that product carries a name and the name brings certain expectations, and when those expectations are not met with, then there is an injustice done to the consumer at that point. “So as a person who sells genuine products, I try my best to make the consumer aware that they need to be careful. Necessary steps need to be taken to curb this. “Occasionally I send my staff out to scout the market to come back and tell me how many shops are carrying the fakes of what we sell. The frequency with the counterfeit trade is increasing is a very disturbing trend, though there are ways to stop them from operating in the market,” says Mohsin. While it is important for dealers to display the genuine quality products effectively, consumers, on their part, can contact parent companies, lodge complaints or approach consumer cells. Changing their attitude towards the issue, also help customers. “Take action, don’t remain passive spectators,” urges Hussain Ahmed Mohsin.

INTERVIEW

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hat makes the Shell Development Oman building in Muscat environment friendly; design-wise and in construction? Shell Development Oman building is custom-designed to minimise energy consumption. We made sure to equip the building with a number of innovative green solutions to reduce carbon footprint in the building and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of electricity and water consumption in the building. What are the steps implemented in Shell Development Oman building to ensure indoor environment quality enhancement? We made sure during construction to equip the building with heat insulated walls and double panned windows to minimise the access of heat inside the building. In that way we ensure that temperature levels inside the building are maintained at the lowest level possible which in return results in us consuming less air conditioning energy. The office is also equipped with an advanced sensor system, which switches lights off automatically when no one uses our office corridors and meeting rooms, and the water heating system in the building uses solar energy. What are the techniques employed to ensure energy and water efficiency? We installed the advanced environment friendly technology of smart light sensor system which detects human movement and presence for it to operate or else it automatically switches the office and meeting rooms’ lights off to consistently ensure energy efficiency. Installing water heating system which uses solar panels to heat the water used in the building also helped in creating efficiency due to

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GREEN IS GOOD SHELL DEVELOPMENT OMAN’S BUILDING IN MUSCAT IS EQUIPPED WITH INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO ENSURE SUSTAINABLE USE OF WATER AND ENERGY, SAYS HILAL AL MAWALI, EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MANAGER avoiding the use of conventional electrical heating systems. What are the steps taken by you aimed at reduction and disposal of waste generated by occupants (employees) of Shell Development Oman building? We have placed recycle bins specifically for recycling paper items for the staff to use. Our staff are also encouraged to do the same in their homes. Green buildings are said to promote productivity. What is your experience? That is absolutely true. We have

witnessed a good degree of increase in productivity in terms of minimizing the building’s operational costs, especially the electricity and water expenditure side. One of the criticisms raised against green buildings is the cost factor. How do you compare the cost factor with the yields from your building? We do witness a good degree of cost savings. We know of course that acquiring such technologies is a bit costly. The savings gained from the energy consumption of our office building definitely paid off the investment we made on those environmental friendly technologies.

INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS

V-KOOL

GOING GREEN ALAA M JARRAR, GENERAL MANAGER, V-KOOL OMAN SAYS THAT EVERY CAR COATED WITH V-KOOL FILMS REDUCE CO2 EMISSIONS BY 132 KG PER YEAR, THE SAME QUANTITY REDUCED BY 11 TREES

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lobal warming is not only the prime environmental challenge we face today, but one of the most important issues facing human kind. V-KOOL International, recognized globally as a pioneer in providing daylight harvesting and energy efficiency solutions through advanced spectrally selective films for automotive and architectural use, has made its presence felt in 28 countries, including Oman. SUN CONTROL FILMS V-KOOL Oman established in 2000, offers the most technologically advanced films that reduce heat; they are voted as one of the top 100 inventions of the millennium.These films work on the basis of continuous reflectance of the infra-red heat up to 94 per cent rather than absorbing it. They also improve the energy efficiency, safety and security as well as provides for higher comfort levels to the to the occupants. The energy-efficient building puts less strain on the cooling system thereby reducing maintenance and extending the life of the equipment.

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Apart from the premium clear heat control films, V-KOOL offers an extensive range of films. It provides protection from UV rays, thereby reducing fading of car upholstery, and interiors of house and retail outlets.

patented technology, and it is proud to be accountable for reduction of 2,64 million tons of CO2 annually. It is mention worthy that 198 million trees are absorbing the same quantity of carbon dioxide during a span of one whole year.

COOL AUTOMOTIVE V-KOOL’s advanced smart coating can make the one-inch thick glass possess the same insulation capability of a six-inch thick wall. This particular feature helps bring down the amount of power required to cool a car or house – thus reducing carbon emissions significantly.

V-KOOL has recently opened a branch in Sohar and Muscat City Center. For our customers, V-KOOL provides the convenience to have their cars installed while shopping.

By rejecting solar heat and reducing air conditioning loads, V-KOOL films perk up the fuel efficiency of a typical car by 3 per cent. A study done by Environment Protection Agency in USA (EPA) along with Visteon says; every car coated with V-KOOL film reduces CO2 emissions by 132 kg per year, the same quantity reduced by 11 trees. More than 20 million cars worldwide are incorporated with V-KOOL’s

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded V-KOOL with the Energy Star Buildings Ally. This prestigious award is conferred on deserving contenders for technologies that make a significant contribution in reducing energy consumption at a global level, thereby reducing air pollution and emissions. Committed to the cause of raising awarness for global warming, V-KOOL actively participates in key exhibitions and social events aiming for a sustainable environment for future generations. Contact: 24600103

Khimji Ramdas LLC, PO Box 19, PC 100, Sultanate of Oman, Showroom: Al Ghubra – 24613258 Contact: Raviprakash 99105220 or Sam 99333706

DESIGNS ON WALLS

WALLPAPERS OF YOUR CHOICE AN EXCLUSIVE WALLPAPER SHOWROOM IS TO BE OPENED IN MUSCAT NEXT JULY

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dmirers of wallpapers in the Sultanate will get the opportunity to buy wallpapers of their choice and even customise it thanks to the entrepreneurship of a young Omani couple.

named ‘Euroart Wallcovering’ to be opened at a convenient location at Asahawa Towers, Athaiba, will be the first exclusive wallpaper showroom in Oman according to Imaan Al Ajmi, who owns the shop. The business will be handled by entrepreneur herself.

A shop exclusively dedicated for wallpapers will be opened in the capital city of Oman in July. The shop

Imaan Ali Al Ajmi will be one of the youngest women entrepreneurs in Oman when the showroom opens.

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Imaan and her husband Hassan Al-Zaabi who provides all encouragement to his wife in her new venture said when they thought of starting an exclusive wall paper showroom they conducted a market study. “We found that there are a few showrooms selling wallpaper in Muscat but they are not exclusive wallpaper showrooms and only three types of wallpapers are available here,” Hassan said. “We tried to contact manufacturers in China, a major wall paper manufacturing country. We established contact with leading wallpaper factories in China and found that eight types of wall papers are available there. They are: (1) Paperback Vinyl, (2) Pure Paper,

(3) Metallic (4) Natural, (5) Non woven, (5), (6) Fabric, (7) Glow in the dark and (8) Customised,” noted Hassan. “We visited the factory and held discussions with them. We decided that we could source wall paper from there and finalized negotiations with them. Meanwhile, Sanad sanctioned a loan for us to open the showroom and we plan to open it by July 17,” said Hassan. On the prospects of the shop, Hassan said “As per our market study people wanted to use wallpapers but could not find shops in Oman selling the types of wallpaper they wanted. Our shop will offer wide selection to customers as well as superior quality papers,” he said. The company will provide three year warranty on fixing

to wallpapers sold. One of the services available to customers will be customization of wall papers. Customers can give pictures and measurements to get it printed on wall papers or they can select from the available patterns according to their needs. Imaan said the shop will have wallpapers suited for all types of customers ranging from four rials per square metre to 24 rials per square metre. On the advantages of wallpaper, he said it is easy to clean and remove or replace unlike paints which need to be scrapped. The showroom will use the services of another company specialised in fixing wall papers to fix it now. Hassan said in future he will train a team of Omanis to fix wall paper.

GUEST COLUMN

The first step to relinquishing fear in the use of colour is to understand the psychological effect it has on us, then we should decide on the mood we need to create in each room. For example, hospital rooms, class rooms, fast food restaurants and offices should be painted in such colours to influence the behavior and moods of the people who use these spaces. For example, red is known to stimulate the appetite, so it is an excellent colour for dining rooms. Both blue and green are fresh and calming; they are colours of nature and could be perfect choices for bedrooms and areas that need to look wide and spacious.

COLOURS OF LIFE

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DON’T REPLICATE OTHERS DESIGNS, APPLY YOUR MIND AND USE YOUR TASTE AND PREFERENCES IN DESIGNING YOUR HOME, SAYS MUNA MOHSIN BAQER, INTERIOR DESIGNER

n Oman there are no specific colour trends, when it is related to painting homes and rooms inside them. There is a lack of awareness on this issue. People are concerned about their clothes and their colours that change from one season to the other but not about the colour themes at home. Mostly, people prefer to apply white and off-white shades and this trend is common almost in all the houses in the Sultanate. People sometimes fear to use such colours and apply them on their houses because there is no awareness in how to use these colours and what psychological effect each colour has and how can they be associated with certain mood, senses or feelings. Therefore there should not be any hesitation to consult the colour consultant or the interior

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designers in order to be properly guided for colour preferences. Each colour has a different effect and is associated with different feelings, so when we set to create a cosy mood in such a room, then warm colours would be the best to us, such as yellow, oranges, and shades of red. But we should also be careful when applying these colours as they tend to make the areas look narrow. Therefore, these type of colours can be applied only on one wall to create a focal point. When someone is seeking serenity and tranquility, then shades of blue and green should be selected, they embody the spirit of water. These colours tend to widen the spaces and make them look spacious.

Yellow and orange are energizing like sun, so they are good choices for rooms where energy is required. Orange and purple can be good choices for home offices. If you are stuck with idea, when trying to decide what colour scheme to choose for a room, look at the furniture and objects you want to use. Many interior designers build up a complex colour scheme from just one item. This does not mean that dramatic colours do not have their place, for too many houses are painted with various shades of beige and off-whites, these colours are very easy to live with but in order to avoid monotony you should contrast and enliven them with bright highlights in your accessories and upholstery. Colours can be toned down, for example, a bright red in dining room, can be toned down by application of various glazes so that its vibrancy is turned to a rich burnish. Bright yellows can be colour washed over a white base to wash them out. In such cases original character of the colour is maintained and only its brightness is muted. Using colour is an art which needs a good knowledge of how to blend and match colours. It also depends on the individual’s personality, taste and preferences.

CONCEPT LAUNCH

KR BAIT AL AHLAM - ELECTRICAL DIVISION

Lighting with aesthetics Khimji’s Lumen Zone is a unique concept to the GCC region which allows customers to see, feel and choose their preferred lighting

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himji’s Lumen Zone, a world of illumination solutions which offers lighting with aesthetics was recently inaugurated at Bait Al Ahlam Towers MBD area by His Excellency Cesare Capitani, the Ambassador of Italy to Oman. Directors of Khimji Ramdas and leading consultants from Oman were present on the occasion. Khimji’s Lumen Zone is a state-of-the-art interactive lighting solutions provider that offers effective illumination solutions from leading European and Omani brands. It is a unique display centre, conceptualized to increase interactions with consultants and designers as well as give a wide range of options to choose from world renowned brands. Khimji’s Lumen Zone offers a variety of chandeliers, down lights, spots and LEDs, fibre optics, besides dimming control systems and latest architectural range of wiring accessories.

UNIQUE CONCEPT Speaking on the occasion, Hritik Khimji, director, Khimji Ramdas said “Light directly affects our emotions and triggers the imagination. We know that light is stimulating and fascinating. Khimji’s Lumen Zone is a unique concept to the GCC region, it allows customers to see, feel and choose their preferred lighting. Be it a villa, a hotel complex, an industry or an office complex, we have kept in mind the illumination levels that are required to make lighting work. Khimji’s Lumen Zone will meet the exact requirements of illumination, backed by engineering and competence that fulfills both design and aesthetic requirements.” NS Vijaya Kumar CEO, Infrastructure group, Khimji Ramdas said “Khimji’s Lumen Zone is a unique display centre, 52 OER DOSSIER June 2010

HIS EXCELLENCY CESARE CAPITANI, THE AMBASSADOR OF ITALY TO OMAN INAUGURATING KHIMJI’S LUMEN ZONE

conceptualized, created and developed by a dedicated team of lighting professionals from Khimji Ramdas Electrical division, to offer elegant lighting design solutions. Khimji’s Lumen Zone has a rich experience of over 150 major project installations in Oman for diverse sectors such as infrastructure, hospitality, commercial, healthcare, education, sports and residential. With the addition of Khimji’s Lumen Zone under Bait Al Ahlam umbrella, we are sure to add value to prestigious construction projects that require lighting solutions.”

Shashi Krishnan, senior divisional manager, electrical division said that “Electrical division has over the last three decades grown from strength to strength. With five business units including trade, projects, lighting, product development and administration, the lighting business unit has been very successful in handling prestigious projects and has to its credit a list of several references in the country.” Khimji’s Lumen Zone showcases products from leading global brands mostly from Europe and US including locally manufactured brands. Khimji’s Lumen Zone represents Swarovski (Austria), Schonbek (U.S.A), Fabbian (Italy), Flos (Spain), KRAUSS (Austria), Arredoluce (Italy), Gallery (Italy), Murano Due (Italy), Majelite (Oman), Disano (Italy), Trilux (Germany) Reggiani (Italy), Fitzgerald (UK), Prisma (Italy), GE (Hungary & USA), PFP (UK), Tridonic Atco (Austria), Ventilux (UK), JCC (UK), Lucente (Italy), Legrand Artier Range (France), Fosnova (Italy) and Lightlux (Canada).

Visit Khimji’s Lumen Zone for an interactive lighting experience erience Khimji Ramdas LLC, PO Box 19, PC 100, Sultanate of Oman Tel: 24852622 • Fax: 24852667 Email: elec@khimjiramdas.com • Website: www.khimjiramdas.com

SPONSORED FEATURE

down the barrier where people feel they are not good at interior designing and afraid of giving expression to personal styles. The catalogue or the style book is prepared by IDdesign’s Item committee. Decisions are taken on the basis of right trends based on trends spotters’ report, who attend furniture shows in Milan or Frankfurt and also fashion shows.

IDdesign

Class Apart Comfort and quality are the two keywords of Scandinavian heritage for making furniture that IDdesign brings to the Sultanate

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urniture and accessories from IDdesign are real visual delights. But their quality goes beyond the obvious. Danish by origin and Scandinavian by approach, IDdesign has a tradition for very high quality furniture. Its showroom, opened in 2002, is located at Markaz Al Bahja which displays furniture, household and kitchen accessories of different style groups. Among the displayed products, a customer can also see brands like Zone and Bodum. Zone is the Danish range of kitchen equipment and small household accessories and Bodum is an innovative range of Scandinavian accessories for coffee and tea brewing, very popular with hotels. At IDdesign, sleek, linear, light coloured Danish furniture with the craftsmanship of the 50’s is available. The craftsmanship in this period was very significant in Danish furniture design which developed a new perspective in design in sync with new experimentations.

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IDdesign has two award winning designers, Werner Panton being one of them. Many IDdesign light fixtures that are designed by him have shapes that are refreshingly new with superb quality. Comfort and the quality are the two keywords for Scandinavian heritage. UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION IDdesign has come up with a novel way of selling furniture based on 60 years of experience. Its style book displays all products divided into four style groups, Urban, Up Nordic, Deluxe, and Global. The Urban represents big city lifestyle, like that of New York and London. Up Nordic is pure Scandinavian. Then comes Deluxe, a combination of flamboyant gold and soft colours, suitable for five star hotels. Global is for people who travel frequently and warm colours, different shapes, trendy materials are the choice of this category of people. This style book or catalogue is shown to customers. He can choose from any of the categories. It is a great aid for customers to find colours for the walls and accessories. This is trying to break

“All our sofas and dining chairs are tested for comfort. Our sofas are tested in a system called Martin Dale System. You should be able to sit in the sofa a minimum of 45,000 times before one thread goes lose. It tells some thing about the fabric, to match the quality furniture. It is vigorously tested and there is an ongoing quality survey which all the suppliers have to live up to,” says Kim Jepsen, General Manager, IDdesign. The company has more than 500 suppliers. Exclusive pieces are created occasionally for designers and architects. With Oman gearing towards modern living, IDdesign has majority of customers among Omanis, and 40 per cent among Westerners. Hotels buy accessories and art works from IDdesign.

Kim Jepsen

General Manager IDdesign Contact: Tel- 2454 5658 e-mail: kimjepsen@albahja.com

SPONSORED FEATURE

PANORAMA INVESTMENTS LLC

Dreams come true

Vabene, represented by Panorama Investments L.L.C, has more than 60 different models of kitchens modules from Italy and some of them come in 168 different colours

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t was his passion for selfexpression through designs and entrepreneurship that led Rashid Haroon Al Kindi to create Panorama Investments. The company represents furniture, kitchen cabinets, and ceramic tiles from famous suppliers in Italy. During the past decade, Vabene has been synchronising the image of a traditional kitchen with state-of-theart modern technologies, evolving over the years. While the contemporary look has enabled Vabene to penetrate the most important European markets, it also made entry into the Oman market through Panorama Investments. Vabene has more than 60 different models of kitchens modules from Italy and some of them come in 168 different colours. This broad selection of models includes both classical and contemporary. Each module is delivered ready to be mounted and kits are not required for home assembly. Ecofriendly and moisture resistant Vabene kitchen modules are produced according to customer’s choice. The bathroomrange is also impressive with quality products and marble and glasstop tiles from well known BMT – all available at competitive prices. At Vabene, a consumer can see the finished product of his choice in 3-D design in computer before buying the product. Whether it is the colour, lighting, furniture or ceiling, the layout for the rooms are done by a Vabene team of dedicated skilled designers. They spruce up rooms tastefully with Vabene products according to customers’ choice. Structures and worktops of any Vabene kitchen modules are made in compliance with European norms using non-toxic ecological panels in

waterproof E1 class, guaranteeing total impermeability. The sink base unit is equipped with a protective embossed aluminium bottom to protect it against water seepage. All the inner shelves are equipped with spring brackets, a device for keeping them in place. The glass panels of the display cases are made of tempered glass in compliance with European norms. The carrying capacity is up to 30 Kg each and tested for 80,000 openings. The wall unit support is a height-and-depth-adjustable bracket which can stand a load of up to 70 Kg each. Apart from representing Vabene products, Rashid Haroon Al Kindi is also involved in manufacturing furniture and furnishing locally, through Fine Arts Decoration. Under his supervision, the designers’ team offers total interior solution to its customers. Furniture, gypsum board ceiling, doors, floorings, wood paneling, and restroom interiors – all are provided by this facility. Interior solutions are offered on project basis. Playing an advisory role for all his

customers, Rashid Al Kindi guides project managers in making quality design arrangements to suit the budget of the customers. Their requirements and preferences come first to Al Kindi.

Rashid Haroon Al Kindi Managing Partner

Panorama Investments LLC. Contact: 2453 8723 e-mail: r.al_kindi@panaoramainvest.com

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SPONSORED FEATURE

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s interior designing is becoming important for effective space management, Teejan Furnishing LLC, in keeping with the mood of the times, has grown into one of the largest furniture retailers in Oman. Established in the field of furniture and furnishing business in the Sultanate of Oman for nearly two decades, today Teejan has five retail showrooms in Oman, strategically located at Al Khuwair, Al Hail, Nizwa, Barka and Sohar. For past two years, styles in residential interiors and more so in office interiors have undergone visible changes. Huge pieces are replaced by sleek and modern furniture that have aesthetic appeal as well as functional value. Teejan offers a gamut of contemporary products in household and office furniture segment, in sync with the requirements of its clients. Sofa sets, wall units, workstations and office chairs made to ergonomic principles, are in demand and all are available at Teejan showroom. The company offers special packages for bulk supply to office, residences, construction camps, and site offices. Global brands are represented from Italy, Brazil, Korea, Malaysia and other parts of the world. On the home front, Teejan has a kitchen cabinet division and is the exclusive agent for the renowned Bertolini kitchen cabinets in the Sultanate. Teejan also has a mattress manufacturing division. Orthopaedic beds and mattresses, pocketed spring mattresses, medical mattresses, sofa set, etc are manufactured in the facility and are exported to adjoining countries. Teejan has executed many furniture supply projects in Oman. Its project division caters to many major contracts, some of which are the turnkey interior decoration projects for institutions in government and private sector. “Now a day’s companies looking for furniture which can inspire

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TEEJAN FURNISHING, LLC

Value-added service From design to implementation, Teejan’s interior decoration division provides quality interior solution to its valued customers

Global brands are represented from Italy, Brazil, Korea, Malaysia & other countries their employees which can generate more productivity. Present-day offices need more than workstations. Employees need space where they can meet, interact and brainstorm. While conference rooms fulfill this need, they take up a great deal of space. As a result, many companies would rather invest in functional furniture that allows optimum utilization of minimal space and enhances productivity.” CORE STRENGTHS Teejan’s design team, along with its full-fledged custom-made furniture manufacturing division, provides unique interior solution to its customers. Teejan’s strength lies in its network of retail outlets which enable the company to reach out to people

in Oman, both in government sector and in private sector.

N.Aseem

General Manager Teejan Furnishing, LLC Tel: 24489209/ 24489326 24489490 GSM: 99205158, Email: teejanf@omantel.net.om

SPONSORED FEATURE

TEEJAN FURNISHING LLC

Steely Mettle Teejan represents Bertolini kitchen cabinets in the Sultanate. Designed to adapt to tropical climate, this brand offers a wide range of products from the regular to the top-end buyers

finest producers of modular kitchens. Teejan represents Brazil’s Bertolini kitchen cabinets in the Sultanate to suit customers’ taste and requirements. These products are widely used in America, South Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Teejan is the exclusive stockist for Bertolini steel range of kitchen cabinets with stylish Italian design features in the Omani market. Designed to adapt to tropical climate, this brand offers a wide range of products from the regular to the top-end buyers. Bertolini cabinets incorporate the concept of steel in kitchen, replacing skin plate and aluminium. The cabinets are totally epoxy and polyester coated, hence corrosion-free and highly durable and superior to aluminum. The cabinets look elegant and come with pull-out drawers without weld with steel runners and nylon wheels for easy gliding. Cutlery compartments and swivel wire baskets are features that are incorporated as per customer’s need. Adjustable legs are made of high density polyethylene. Numerous combinations are possible in this range to design a state-of-theart kitchen.

O N.Aseem

General Manager Teejan Furnishing, LLC Tel: 24489209/ 24489326 24489490 GSM: 99205158, Email: teejanf@omantel.net.om

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ne of the leading companies in the furniture and furnishing industry of Oman, Teejan Furnishing is an importer, wholesaler and retailer of a large range of household, office and children’s furniture and furnishings. It has been providing the Sultanate with contemporary products and services for past two decades. Teejan’s Retail Division offers a wide range of quality products in household and office furniture to suit the taste and budget of customers.

MODULAR KITCHENS Bertolini has been manufacturing kitchen cabinets for 36 years and is currently considered to be one of the

The electrostatic coating process consists of four steps. In the first step, grease and oils are removed from the steel plate. After that, all pieces are rinsed with clean water. The third step is bath with a refining substance (zinc, magnesium and nickel) to prepare the steel surface for the zinc phosphate bath which comes in the fourth step. This is the most important step. In the last step, every furniture piece is rinsed with clean water, passing through a drying oven, becoming ready to be coated through an electrostatic coating system. The coat used has been specially developed for steel, a hybrid powder made of epoxy resin and polyester. The coat is polymerized in an oven becoming highly adhesive and resistant, guaranteeing perfect coating and protection.

SPONSORED FEATURE

SHARIKAH FANNIYAH OMANIYAH (MUSCAT) LLC

User friendly office solutions Sharikah Fanniyah Omaniyah offers user friendly and cutting edge office solutions for all types of offices — be it big or small Our suppliers visit us and interact with customers regularly. They also conduct back up surveys to find the response of the people and always try to innovate products to suit the demands of the market. WHO ARE YOUR MAIN CLIENTS? We have executed office solutions for several ministries in the government sector. In the private sector, we have provided office solutions for the new offices of Qalhat LNG, O.I.F and Al Maha Petroleum. We have also provided office solutions for Muscat Finance.

GIVE A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SHARIKAH FANNIYAH OMANIYAH? We began operations in 1967 from a showroom in Ruwi providing office solutions and have now grown into a conglomerate. We have a furniture division offering office solutions, technical division selling air conditioning, commercial kitchen and laundry equipment, water treatment division, switchgear and controls division, furniture factory and fabrication factory. WHAT ARE THE PRODUCTS OFFERED BY YOUR COMPANY IN THE OFFICE SOLUTIONS CATEGORY? We offer all types of products needed for offices made to suit the needs of employees of all levels. Our product range include flooring solutions, demountable partitions, modular furniture, storage solutions and all type of office equipment including state of the art projectors and screens. Some of the leading brands available

with us are Chubb, U.K security storage solutions (safes and cabinets) Fursys, Korea modular furniture and InterFace floor tiles from the United Kingdom and Linekit furniture and modular partitions. We have Sam Kwang and Acco brand office solutions from Korea and UK respectively and Rexel Shredders. We also offer Luxy chairs and Pledge seating solutions from UK and ORA high-end executive furniture range. WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES YOU OFFER TO CLIENTS WHO DO BUSINESS WITH YOU? The biggest advantage we offer is our product range which includes the lowest range to the most exclusive. We have products to suit the junior level executives to the chief executive officers. We offer products which use the latest technology and introduce new products every year. Our exclusive products include office chairs which could be used by people having back problems and board room chairs with special features.

HOW MUCH IMPORTANCE YOU GIVE TO PRE SALES AND AFTER SALES SERVICE? We have a long experience in Oman market and the ability to provide complete services. Our excellent sales team helps customers to get the products which they need and also provide after sales service. By providing valuable after-sales service, we have earned the tag of S.F. O as ‘Service For Oman’.

Contact: Tel: 24704400 Fax: 24700934 Website:www.sfomuscat.com E-mail: ofd@sfo-om.com

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KR BAIT AL AHLAM - CEO INTERVIEW

PROVIDING THE BEST FOCUSING ON CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS HAS HELPED KHIMJI RAMDAS INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP TO EMERGE AS ONE OF THE MOST PREFERRED NAMES IN THE BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IN OMAN

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t may be a cliché but is worth repeating; focus on customers is the reason for the success of Khimji Ramdas Infrastructure Group. “Focus on customers has helped us achieve growth,” says N.S. Vijaya Kumar, CEO Khimji Ramdas, (Infrastructure Group) in an interview to Dossier. Explaining the group’s strategy, he said “Salespersons in our showrooms don’t try to hard sell. Our policy is not to pressurise the customer to buy products. We try to understand the requirements of customers and educate them about our product offerings that best suits their needs. We leave the decision to customers.” The Infrastructure Group of Khimji Ramdas deals in building materials, 60 OER DOSSIER June 2010

electrical products, air conditioning and home appliances, furniture and other products related to the building and construction industry. The group is a leader in many of the product lines sold by it. The group keeps bringing in new products into Oman market and caters to the changing needs of customers. Commenting on changing attitudes of customers, Kumar said they are becoming choosier and they demand variety. “Earlier they were not much concerned about the aesthetics of different products but now they are,” he noted. CURRENT TRENDS Speaking on current trends in the market, Kumar said, “Bathrooms and kitchens are two areas which

have undergone tremendous change. Presently, the bathroom is perceived as a place where one could relax and get refreshed. Modern bathrooms are designed and fitted with devices to suit the concept. Products in our showrooms like the multi-head shower suits modern bathrooms,” he said. Regarding furniture, the present trend is straight line oriented furniture, said Kumar. “Exclusive furniture which people demand are available in our showroom at affordable prices. People are moving away from heavy classical furniture. We import trendy furniture from Spain, Italy, Malaysia and China,” he added. The group gives top priority to pre and after sales service. For example,

its air conditioning division has 14 mobile service vans to cater to the needs of customers. The group has a dedicated team of technicians to provide service to customers who buy furniture and kitchen appliances.

“We have a special software to help customers who want to buy furniture”

“In our showrooms we have a special software to help customers who want to buy furniture. With the help of it, one could visualise how the furniture one wants to purchase would feel in his room. This helps the customer to choose the right type of furniture. Our sales team clarifies their doubts if any,” said Kumar. PRODUCT RANGE Referring to the product range, Kumar said the group has all types of products needed for the construction sector. “We represent important brands of products related to the sector. Some of the important brands we have in the construction segment are Grace Construction Products from United Kingdom, Oman Cements and Raysut Cement. In the air conditioning category, the leading brands we represent include Fujitsu General and Lennox. We are the first to introduce the concept of energy saving variable refrigerant flow (VRF) products in Oman,” Kumar added. The KR group manufactures and markets a paint brand Permoglaze, one of the most preferred paint brands in Oman. “We have a tie up with Sherwin-Williams, largest manufacturer of paints in USA,” said Kumar. Manufacturing of paints in the Rusayl Industrial Area by Khimji Permoglaze began in 1985. It has an ISO 9001: 2000 certification. The KR group showrooms offer ‘Permoglaze Colour Vision’, a service which enables the customer select the colour suited for his home through a computerized system. The group also provides ‘Paint a Home’ service to interested customers. As per this service, a team of the group visits homes, explains to

customers about different products and also undertakes painting of homes. Top brands of modular kitchen available at the showrooms of the group include SieMatic of Germany and Aran from Italy. “All the villas and apartments of Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club project and Barr Al Jissah Residences use our modular kitchens,” said Kumar. BAIT AL AHLAM Khimji’s Bait Al Ahlam (The Dream Home) showrooms, are the retail face of the Infrastructure Group of Khimji Ramdas and has world-class brands which cater to the building and construction industry under one roof, thereby offering choice, value and convenience all at one place. Every individual wants a home that is built and decorated according to his dreams and desires and Bait Al Ahlam is a one-stop shop which helps one to realise the dream. The group has Siemens and Frigidaire home appliances and also world

famous sanitaryware brands Roca and Bagno. “We have two showrooms at Ghubrah and one in MBD exclusively for bathroom solutions. One showroom at Ghubrah has designer products of Bagno while the other is exclusively for Roca products,” said Kumar. In addition Bait Al Ahlam also stocks a wide varitey of local products like Al Shams ceramic tiles, Ware sanitaryware and Majelite lighting fixtures. “We opened our first exclusive showroom for lights named ‘Khimji’s Lumen Zone’ at Bait Al Ahlam, MBD recently. The showroom inaugurated by HE Cesare Capitani, Italian Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman is perhaps the only one such in the Middle East. It has the latest lighting solutions including Swarovski Lighting,” said Kumar. On the importance of providing training to the staff, Kumar said the technicians at the KR infrastructure group are periodically trained with the help of suppliers and the group is keen to equip technicians with latest skills. June 2010 OER DOSSIER

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SPONSORED FEATURE

KR BAIT AL AHLAM – SANITARYWARE BUILDING MATERIAL DIVISION

REALISING YOUR DREAM BATHROOM THE BUILDING MATERIALS DIVISION UNDER THE INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP OF KHIMJI RAMDAS HAS BROUGHT A NEW APPROACH TO CONSTRUCTION OF BATHROOMS THROUGH THE WORLD RENOWNED ROCA SANITARYWARE TO ENSURE HASSLE FREE BATHROOM SOLUTIONS FOR ITS CUSTOMERS AND CONTRACTORS IN THE SULTANATE.

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he Building Materials Division - of Khimji Ramdas offers total solutions to make your dream bathroom a reality. It does not merely supply sanitaryware but helps customers to visualize their dreams before making them a reality through their worldclass products. The ultimate attraction offered by KR is of course Roca brand of sanitaryware of which the KR has been the exclusive distributor in

Oman for the last two decades. The KR Roca team was the proud recipient of the “Best Sales Team 2009-2010 for Middle East & North Africa”, awarded at the worldwide conference held in Spain by Roca. This award was to acknowledge the growth of the brand name Roca in the Sultanate of Oman and its growing base of loyal and most valued customers for creative bathroom solutions across the spectrum of market segments. HASSLE-FREE BATHROOM The sanitaryware unit of Khimji Ramdas is all set to raise the bar of customer service in the coming days. It will introduce new products in the market and will assist customers in making the right choice. Customers will be able to choose using the latest software available at showrooms according to their taste and selections. “New concepts in installation of Roca products will be introduced to ensure hassle free functioning such as technician training meets, pre-installation inspection at site, sharing of modern design concepts for bathrooms from across the globe etc,” said KR sources. “We understand the impact of inconvenience caused to the customers due to sanitary ware

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malfunctions. It’s our endeavor to strive to offer better quality products that ensure minimum faults and a happy customer in the process,” said S.Karnakar, Unit ManagerSanitaryware Building Material Division. Ensuring that the chances of malfunctioning of Roca Sanitaryware are zero is the mantra KR Sanitaryware team lives by. Roca is a global leader in sanitaryware and is the last word in aesthetics and functionality. Roca products are eco-friendly and aims at zero wastage during production. Roca produces 40mn pieces a year, the next closest brand produces only 24mn. Their products have transformed the concept of bathroom to a place where one could unwind and wash off one’s tensions and come out refreshed. This has been achieved through a scientific approach in the construction of bathrooms propagated by Roca through its “Wellness” products, now introduced in the Sultanate by Khimji Ramdas. The Roca brand is preferred by several ministries for use in their buildings and is also being used by high end property developers in Oman. The Roca products come to Bait Al Ahlam from its parent manufacturing facility directly from Spain. They are sold through the KR chain of retail showrooms in MBD, Sohar and Salalah. Apart from these, the Building Materials Division also has an exclusive Roca Showroom at Al Ghubra. Roca has a dedicated in-house design team consisting of more than 120 designers who provide customized solutions that fit the customer specifications. Roca is quality certified with ISO 9001 and 14001 in addition to AENOR (Spanish certification for quality compliance to Euro norms and AFNOR and PAIX certifications of

Roca is a global leader in sanitaryware and is the last word in aesthetics and functionality. France and Germany respectively. “Our Bait Al Ahlam showrooms in Oman apply standards that are followed by Roca worldwide. We have an efficient supply chain, pre and post sales service. In addition, we also provide technical assistance to contractors, consultants and plumbers which includes Roca product awareness programmes”, said Karnakar, Unit Head for Roca Sanitaryware at Khimji Ramdas. NEW PRODUCTS The Bait Al Ahlam showrooms are all set to introduce a combined Wash Basin and Western Commode, an award winning product from Roca in the market in the next quarter of 2010. The USP of the product is that it recycles water from the wash basin for flushing in the WC thereby saving water and energy. Presently awareness of using high quality sanitary products has become a top priority with customers and they are showing interest in the latest designer wares.

of sanitaryware depends on many factors, for example, the functioning of a shower may be impacted by factors like storage capacity of water tanks, pressure of water in the pipeline etc. KR’s fundamental approach is to coordinate with the customers and contractors from the stage of installation to minimize problems arising at a later stage. The Building Materials Division offers expert technical know-how in planning and execution of creative bathroom solutions. Apart from Sanitarywares, KR Building Materials Division also sells a full range of building materials to address the requirements of construction right from foundation items like water-proofing, cement, scaffolding, construction chemicals, manhole covers, copper pipes, timber and ply to finishing goods like high quality floor and wall tiles, PVC flooring and world-class iron mongery.

Customers are looking for products that are aesthetically designed and functionally efficient. However, the demand in this segment is not addressed adequately. Khimji Ramdas Building Material Group is taking necessary steps to fulfill the growing demands to meet customer requirements. The need for proper interaction with customers, right from the initial installation stage is vital. Plumbing works of buildings need to be done properly to avoid problems arising in the future. Proper functioning

For further details : Please contact Karnakar – Unit Manager-Sanitaryware GSM 99103522 June 2010 OER DOSSIER

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SPONSORED FEATURE

KR BAIT AL AHLAM – APPLIANCES & KITCHENS DIVISION

Cool Solution The Khimji Ramdas Infrastructure Group has tied up with the best in business, displaying under one roof some of the world’s leading brands, one of them being Frigidaire

dream offices.

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In today’s fast paced world where everyday visit to market place is almost next to impossible, a refrigerator becomes indispensable for food storage whether at home or commercial places. Frigidaire’s All Refrigerator can be your perfect choice to solve the storage problem. Khimji’s Appliances & Kitchens Division is its sole distributor in Oman. The Khimji Ramdas Infrastructure Group has tied up with the best in business. The international brands that they represent in Oman are the established leaders in their specific segments; with the latest technical know-how and a proven track record in meeting the stringent demands of the customers. Displaying under one roof some of the world’s leading brands, one of them being Frigidaire, Bait Al Ahlam introduces a unique concept of offering ultimate choices to the customers aspiring to build their dream homes and 64 OER DOSSIER June 2010

Frigidaire, which is of international repute, is a subsidiary of Electrolux (USA). It is a 90-year old company and pioneers in electrical refrigeration globally. It offers large cooling capacities in the form of high performing refrigerators and freezers. Keeping the requirements of large families, or nuclear families where both the partners are working, Frigidaire has introduced All Refrigerator concept. Buy an All Refrigerator and it solves your storage problems as it offers 581 or 473 liters of storage volume in two variants. It is the first refrigerator-freezer combination with a separate freezer. This segregation, which is not available in other refrigerators in the market, is immensely useful for keeping processed food and fresh vegetables in proper segments. By segregating the freezer, more space is created inside the refrigerator. So those who require both refrigerator and freezer storage, can go for integrated All Refrigerator with Upright Freezer of the same size. They will get a refrigerator and a freezer with a combined capacity of 1162 or 950 litres. This combination is the largest ever offered in the industry.

Such is Frigidaire’s confidence on product quality, the company offers 7 years guarantee on all their sealed parts, which covers the compressor, condenser coil and factory fixed tubes; in addition to the one year warranty on the product itself. The general features of All Refrigerator are many: Adjustable Glass/Wire Shelves • Frost Free • Interior Light • Adjustable Temperature Control • Adjustable Door Storage Bins • Full Width Sliding Baskets Tropical Climate Class • Door Closures “A” Energy Rating Frigidaire has many firsts to its credit. It pioneered top-loading fully washing machine. In 2009, Frigidaire launched the largest US made front loading washer with the capacity of 12 kg which no other US brands have. Frigidaire has 100 per cent clothes dryer units with the capacity of 12 kg, which also remain unparalleled. They are preferred by large families and the corporates for their labour camps. More than just stocks of premium products, Bait Al Ahlam houses a team of experts in each field to assist customers throughout in making the right decision while selecting products matching their requirements. All products sold are backed up by efficient after sales service support.

Contact: K. Ram GSM: +968 99311597 ram.s@khimjiramdas.com Website: www.khimjiramdas.com

SPONSORED FEATURE

KR BAIT AL AHLAM – APPLIANCES AND KITCHENS DIVISION

Where cooking is a pure pleasure If you are looking for a smart solution to your kitchen conundrums, then come to Khimji’s Bait Al Ahlam Bought a new house and looking for a one stop shop for setting up a smart kitchen? Visit Khimji’s Appliances and Kitchens Division. Under the Bait-Al Ahlam banner, you can pick and choose from the large variety of kitchen solutions displayed in Khimji’s showroom. It represents top of the range international brands that specialize in modular and state-of-the-art ‘smart kitchen’ designs. The kitchen division team at Bait Al Ahlam can help you in creating your ideal kitchen space along with commercial cutting edge fit-outs. To address the growing modular kitchen market in Oman, Khimji Ramdas, Bait Al Ahlam provides modular kitchens solutions from SieMatic from Germany and Aran Cucine from Italy. The idea is to present new designs, styles and finishes across the modular kitchen spectrum in Oman. This portfolio allows KR to address any nature of modular kitchen requirement ranging from conventional closed kitchens to highly engineered bespoke open kitchens, using a variety of material and design elements. KR’s design consultants are trained to assist clients in planning the space to meet their kitchen requirements. These kitchen collections at KR Bait Al Ahlam, provide a specification band that qualifies for kitchen requirements for rental properties to fulfilling the client’s “dream kitchen” SieMatic, a German premium modular kitchen company, prides in offering more than 4000 different combinations for a defined kitchen space to suit any specification, and represent products from classical to contemporary taste, suitable for modern kitchens. It offers

innovative designs, the latest in the line being SieMatic S1. Aran Cucine, one of the leading Italian modular kitchen manufacturers, offers the latest in design trends and continually renews its lines to reflect changing lifestyle needs with chic, modern, classic and futuristic modular kitchens. Khimji’s specialized showroom in Ghubra is solely devoted to the Aran brand. Customers can select options from a plethora of finishes, colors and fittings to design a kitchen that reflect their personal style. Modular kitchens being the order of the day in any housing project, including ITC projects. A smart kitchen solution is only complete with specially built-in appliances. At KR’s Bait Al Ahlam, while deciding on their kitchen, customers can choose built in appliances from the formidable range of premium built in appliances from SIEMENS or from the luxurious

range of GAGGENAU. These brands offer every conceivable built in appliance that is used in the modular kitchens such as hobs, hoods, built in ovens, dishwashers, built in refrigerators, built in coffee machines, steamers, built in microwaves, warming drawers. Any discerning consumer will realize that with modular kitchens from Germany and Italy, appliance solutions that meet every conceivable culinary need and other elements such as kitchen sinks and taps, are all a part of the offering from Khimji’s Bait Al Ahlam. That truly makes it a convenient one – stop shop arrangement for the buyer. This enables a consumer or a developer to negotiate both position and costs comprehensively.

Showrooms : Al Gubra 24613258 Ruwi 24832601 Project Enquiries Contact : Sam Cherian Direct : 24852632 Mobile : 99333706 Email : sam.hpd@khimjiramdas.com url : www.khimjiramdas.com info : www.siemens-home.ae June 2010 OER DOSSIER

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SPONSORED FEATURE

KR BAIT AL AHLAM – Appliances and Kitchens Division

Paradigm shift Siemens’ built-in appliances are an integral part of a modern kitchen solution

black glass. The built-in oven category is formidable in terms of range and looks and provides both users and designers with endless possibilities of integration. In addition to the standard oven, Siemens offers combination ovens, microwave ovens, warming drawers and steam ovens. Extensive research and experimentation are conducted by Siemens on every part of its premium products to ensure quality and safety. Sheer innovation from Siemens is clearly understood in the recent launch of “Siemens A - Cool series of built in refrigerators, which allows the kitchen designer to integrate an array of various cooling equipment and dispensing equipment into the kitchen. Owing to its flexible and accurate fittings, Siemens’ built-in appliances get effortlessly integrated with world standard kitchen furniture and enjoy customers’ goodwill for its competent after sales service.

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himji Ramdas’ (KR) Bait Al Ahlam showroom has become a landmark shopping destination for clients designing their kitchens. It displays prestigious brands from across the globe, offering the best in home solutions. The cutting edge kitchen appliances from Siemens appliances are engineered, innovative, of superior quality and contribute to aesthetics as much as functionality. Siemens built in appliances are grouped functionally and covers: • Built-in cooking — gas, ceramic and induction hobs, 60cm, 70cm and 90cm • Built in Ovens — conventional, microwaves, steam and combination ovens and coffee machines • Cooking hoods — built under wall mounted and island hoods, 60cm, 90cm • Built in laundry — washing machines and washer dryers • Built in Refrigeration — below counter and full height units

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• Built in Dishwashing — fully integrated and semi-integrated dishwashers The hob which is an everyday appliance meant to handle daily cooking and it needs to be sturdy, visually appealing, functional and user friendly. All Siemens hobs are designed to be compatible with Siemens oven. The ceramic hobs are efficient, easy to clean, safe, durable and have scratch resistant surface with various cooking zone sizes to suit different vessels. An efficient cooker hood that protects against condensation, grease and cooking odours, is an essential part of any fitted kitchen. The Siemens range of cooker hoods have been designed to complement and blend with all kitchen styles. With Siemens ovens, cooking is a pure pleasure. The self-cleaning system in Siemens’ oven is innovative and well appreciated by the end-users. The contemporary look and designer elegance is highlighted by stylish combination of stainless steel and

For the conformist, Siemens provides the premium range of freestanding appliances such as cooking ranges, washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators and small appliances. Sam Cherian, Business Manager, KR Appliances and Kitchens Division, makes a pertinent observation, “Siemens has been in Oman with Khimji Ramdas since the year 2002. A perceptible change is visible in the socio-economic scenario. There is a shift from traditional lifestyle to modern lifestyle in the last two to three years, appropriately, there is a shift in thinking. Education and exposure to varied cultures and lifestyles have made young couples from the nouveau riche and elite class appreciate premium products. The aspiring middle class do yearn for quality products. There is a price for quality, which our customers are willing to pay.”

Showroom : Al Gubra 24613258 Ruwi : 24832601 Email :sam.hpd@khimjiramdas.com Contact: 2485 2632 Website: www.khimjiramdas.com www.siemens-home.ae

SPONSORED FEATURE

KHIMJI RAMDAS – ELECTRICAL DIVISION

Aesthetic lighting applications Poised for a major expansion and implementation of a slew of initiatives, the KR lighting unit provides complete design based lighting solutions for retail customers as well as large projects

T

he Electrical Division of Khimji Ramdas (KR) Infrastructure Group, under the umbrella of Bait Al Ahlam and catering to the growing infrastructure and construction industry, enjoys a major market share in the electrical business. Of the five business units under this division the Lighting business unit has been successful in handling prestigious projects and has to its credit a list of several references in the country with an excellent track record. Poised for a major expansion and implementation of a slew of initiatives, the unit provides complete design based lighting solutions for retail customers, as well as large projects. The recent launch of Lumen Zone concept is a pointer in that direction. “We do not provide a product. We are basically a solutions provider. Starting from the concept to design stage, our specialized lighting designers and engineers are involved in providing the solution,” says Suresh Babu Nair, Head of the Lighting Business Unit. The lighting unit covers the complete spectrum of lighting products which include Fluroscent lighting, in-shop lighting, sports lighting, architectural lighting, residential lighting, outdoor lighting, lighting controls, and lighting designs through leading international companies like Trilux (Germany), Disano—Fosnova (Italy), Prisma (Italy), Reggiani (Italy), Ventilux (UK), Bugatti (Italy), GE and, Swarovski (Austria)and SCHONBECK of USA and Hungary. Laying emphasis on its policy of promoting Omani products, the division has exclusive marketing of ‘MAJELITE’ light fittings, manufactured by Majees Lighting Industries, Sohar. Most of the prestigious stadiums and schools in Oman are illuminated by Majelite.

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Shashi Krishnan, Senior Divisional Manager, Electrical Division, KR, says, “The core strengths of the Division are its people who are very committed and dedicated to their assignments. With specifics to the lighting business units, the people have passion for lighting applications and can guide customers in making good selection. They address the various projects with appropriate packages. With a strong back up of agencies, the unit is supported ably by its principals. A combination of these core competencies enables us to provide excellent solutions to its customers.” The clientele of the KR lighting unit are Ministries, government projects, universities, residential and commercial complexes, villa owners, as well as large projects, malls and hotels, highways, stadium, etc.

aesthetic switching accessories- ARTEOR from Legrand has been introduced. A varied choice of finishes to choose is on display at the Lumen Zone. Home automation is the new trend catching up in Oman, and the Electrical Division has introduced VANTAGE from USA, where one can integrate air conditioning, lighting, motion sensors, security devices, entertainment electronics all into a single system and operated on sleek touch screens.

NEW ADDITIONS Khimji’s Lumen Zone was recently inaugurated at Bait Al Ahlam Towers. It is a state of the art interactive lighting solutions provider that offers effective illumination solutions from leading European and Omani brands, bringing both functional and aesthetic elements into lighting solutions. Switching is an integral part of Lighting and a range of

Shashi Krishnan,

Senior Divisional Manager, Electrical Division Contact: 2485 2625 Website: www.khimjiramdas.com


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