Omran mulls setting up hospitality REIT

April 30 – Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran), the government’s tourism investment and development arm, is weighing plans to set up a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) designed to enable local and international investors to invest in its expanding portfolio of hospitality assets.

Omran Chief Executive Officer Peter Walichnowski made the revelation in a presentation on the second day of the Oman Economic Forum, which concluded at the Oman Convention & Exhibitiion Centre yesterday.

The presentation was part of a panel discussion on the real estate sector that also featured Mohammed Said al Abri, Vice President of the Capital Market Sector – Capital Market Authority (CMA); Saeed al Rashdi, Board Member – Oman Real Estate Association; and Nasser al Shibly, General Manager – Oman Real Estate Investment  Services. Lo’ai al Bataineh, CEO – U-Capital, moderated the session.

“We are exploring funds management at the moment – which is how to take (Omran’s) hotel assets and securitise them and put into them into an investment vehicle to allow the public and investors to participate in the hospitality portfolio,” said Walichnowski.

“One of the options we are investigating is a possible REIT structure, which was recently introduced to Oman. We are looking at the benefits of placing some or all of the hotels into a hospitality REIT, which will be the biggest in Oman and possibly one of the biggest in the region. This should be able to draw local and international investor interest,” he stated.