JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, (Reuters) – Saudi developer Emaar Economic City will receive a 5 billion riyal ($1.33 billion) loan from the Saudi finance ministry in 2010, two sources familiar with the deal said.
Emaar Economic City, affiliated to UAE-based Emaar Properties, is spearheading the development of King Abdullah Economic City, one of the kingdom’s most ambitious projects aimed at diversifying the oil-based economy.
“Emaar (Economic City) will receive a 5 billion riyal loan … this year,” one source said. Another said: “It is happening soon … It is just a matter of documentation.”
The project, aimed at building a new high-tech city on the Red Sea coast with business, industrial, leisure and residential estates as well as a giant port has been dogged by delays and lower-than-expected demand from local and foreign investors.
The loan will help Emaar Economic City to speed up the development of the city, another source close to the project told Reuters in January.
Officials at Emaar Economic City and the Finance Ministry were not immediately available for comment.
King Abdullah Economic City is among five so-called economic cities planned in the world’s largest oil exporter to speed up job creation for the country’s rapidly-growing population.