The reasons Zabeel Investments gave for not pursuing the Addicks were concerns regarding foreign ownership and the economic downturn in the UK. However, the financial crisis has also left Dubai vulnerable.
The booming real estate market that has changed its landscape has been fueled by a ballooning debt which tops $47 billion and is expected to grow further leaving Dubai exposed to the vagaries of the financial crisis. Yesterday, the stock index dropped to its lowest point in 3-1/2 years.
Although Zabeel Investments prides itself a diversified company, it rapidly made its mark as a big time player in the booming UAE real estate market before moving onto investing in other sectors. It continues to invest heavily in commercial real estate development and management which have been hard hit in this downturn. They have ambitious projects in the pipeline developing hotels and luxury apartments both nationally and internationally.
Zabeel Investments also has a close relationship financially with Dubai International Capital, with big stakes in a multi-billion dollar fund run by DICAM which is its asset management arm. DIC is the entity that was the front runner buying out Liverpool before David Moores sold out to the present US ownership.
The move away from buying the Addicks reflects the fragile state of the global economy which threatens Zabeel in its own backyard. An ambitious company like Zabeel probably has more pressing priorities now. The financial implosion also has repercussions on DIC's pursuit of Liverpool which might now be dead on arrival.