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By Alexander Cornwell
DUBAI, Sept 4 (Reuters) - The chairman of Dubai’s largest listed developer Emaar Properties said on Wednesday he was unaware of a new state property planning commission until it was announced this week, although Emaar was named as a member.
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum announced on Twitter on Monday that he was establishing the Higher Committee for Real Estate Planning to control supply amid a market glut.
Emaar Chairman Mohamed Alabbar, who has led the firm since it was founded in 1997, said he had “zero knowledge” of the committee that will control the pace at which projects are developed and stop competition between semi-government companies and private firms.
“From what I read on social media, we are a part of it like many other real estate companies. We are waiting to learn more from what they have in mind,” he told reporters.
Emaar, which is almost 30% owned by Dubai’s state fund, and other state-linked property firms were named as members.
Dubai’s communication office did not immediately respond when asked if the government had consulted with real estate firms before announcing the committee’s formation.
Dubai has traditionally encouraged open, competitive business, but heavy oversupply in the property market, an important sector of the economy, has seen residential prices slide by at least a quarter since mid 2014.
Emaar has been behind many of Dubai’s biggest real estate developments, including the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa. It is partnering with state-linked entities on some of its latest projects.
“I don’t see any changes in my business, to be honest with you,” Alabbar said when asked if Emaar would slow or pause projects if that was decided by the committee. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Mark Potter)