Gazette Montreal Monday,
March 8, 1976
$37 million contract
Ottawa firm, Saudi
prince sign deal
OTTAWA - (CP) - Fred Farha tried last year to expand from his Ottawa-based
real estate development business to form a Canadian-Arab development
consortium that would - for a fee - assist member compa-nies in
making business deals in the oil-rich Arab states.
But there were few takers. Farha, a 41-year-old Lebanese-born Canadian
with experience in the interna-tional money markets, said Canadian
companies were not convinced they could crack the Arab market. So
the consortium concept was "put on ice" and Farha went
looking for opportunities for his own Fundmore Corp. (Canada) Ltd.
Saudi Arabia was chosen as the prime target after several scouting
trips during which business contracts were made and renewed.
Last week, Farha and two associates returned with a $37 million
contract for the design and construction of a group of apartment
buildings in Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian capital.
They believe it is the first major deal obtained by a Canadian
company in the Arab world, with the exception of consulting contracts.
Under the contract, Fundmore and several associated Ontario construction
and design companies will build a 350-unit housing unit, for Prince
Dandar Bin Muhammad Bin Abdul-Rahman A-Saud, nephew of the Saudi
king. It will feature 10 buildings of six storeys grouped around
a swimming pool and shopping arcade. Construction is to begin Aug.
1 with completion planned for October, 1978.
The turnkey project, in which the Canadian companies will be responsible
for all detailsm will involve importing 150 skilled workers from
other countries and the hiring of about x50 local laborers. Temporary
recreation and housing facilities for the imported workers are include
a swimming pool and billiard tables.
In addition, Fundmore and the companies working with it will buy
and transport to Riyadh about $3 million worth of equipment, "everything
from pencils to bulldozers."
Farha said the equipment investment is being made with the conviction
that other contracts will follow. He said offers to design and build
two hotels and a shopping centre were declined on the recent trip
so the company could concentrate on "making a first-class show"
of the apartments.
Previously, the six-year-old Fundmore Corp. and three other companies
in the Farha Group have won contracts for designing, building, managing
and arranging financing for residential, commercial and industrial
projects in Canada, the United States and Caribbean countries.
Farha is convinced the potential for Canadian companies in the
Arab world is enormous, and he hopes success of his own companies
in Saudi Arabia will generate faith in the concept of the Canadian-Arab
Business opportunities are currently being lost to British, French,
German and Japanese firms who have financial help from their governments.
Farha said Canadian companies should receive subsidies from the
government to compete for contracts in Arab states.
What the companies need , the most, however, is assistance in locating
business opportunities and in Arab negotiating met odd, language
Farha said the development consortium could provide this assistance.
He admitted to having an edge on other Canadians with hit background
in and knowledge of the Arab world - he writes and speaks Arabic
- and business contacts from two years of arranging private financing
for projects on the international money market in Zurich, Switzerland.
The Fundmore contract was negotiated promptly over a four-day weekend,
in sessions that included lamb feasts.
From Our Archives:
The CITIZEN Ottawa,
Friday, March 5,1976
Daily Commercial News,
and Construction Record Thursday, March 11,1976
September 19, 1988