Ekaruna What is MENA Capital?
MENA Capital is a financial institution specialising in investment management whilst having a special focus on real estate development.
Ekaruna Could you tell us more about your background and how you came to be the Founder, Chairman and CEO of MENA Capital?
After working in the mid-to-late seventies at Bank Almashrek, JP Morgan’s affiliate in Beirut, I joined JP Morgan in 1980 at their New York office and worked across various positions. I have worked in corporate and investment banking in New York, London, Paris and the Far East, and then as the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of International Securities Sales and Trading with the last position being Managing Director of Global Asset Services. After spending 19 years at JP Morgan, I started ‘Middle East Capital Group’ in Beirut, a financial institution specialising in investment banking services, and in 2004 I founded “MENA Capital”.
Ekaruna MENA Capital’s activities include Investment Management, Real Estate Development, Private Equity, and Merchant Banking. Could you kindly explain to the readers more about each category?
We manage investment vehicles, which largely specialise in real estate activities both in Lebanon, the Middle East and selectively within international markets.
Real Estate Development
Our early focus has been on the residential high-rise segment of the market, however we are now expanding into the commercial and resorts segments.
We will only commence this activity when the environment is conducive to pursue new start-ups.
Ekaruna Sky Gate, the highest building in Beirut with its distinctive design and quality has awed Lebanon. Can you explain what else makes this building so unique?
It is unique in many ways. To begin with, its design is exceptional with its 4-shifting blocks, which create welcoming urban windows. Additionally, it is made with remarkably high quality materials, refined finishing and state of the art amenities.
Ekaruna In your opinion, what makes MENA Capital stand out from other companies of a similar nature?
MENA Capital is a specialised firm; professionally run and privately owned. This enables it to capitalise on opportunities as they arise, unlike large government and public institutions.
Ekaruna Are there any upcoming projects the company is working on now in Lebanon?
Yes, we have several projects that we are considering to launch once the environment becomes conducive.
Ekaruna As CEO, founder, and Chairman of MENA Capital, what inspires you the most when you take on a new project?
Any project we take on needs to be distinguished in terms of timing, location, design, quality and amenities.
Ekaruna What has been your most challenging project
The most challenging has been Sky Gate. It is the largest project and it is architecturally challenging with very unique materials and state of art facilities and amenities.
Ekaruna Are you active in the region?
Yes we are. Along with a group of distinguished investors, we have acquired a very large piece of land just South of Baghdad on a major highway connecting Baghdad to Basra. A large community will be developed here to include different residential areas, several schools and shopping areas, medical facilities, a mall and an office park, as well as other needed local authority offices and services.
Ekaruna What about regions outside of this one?
We are considering a development in the south of Spain in the Andalusia region, where the economy begun to pick up as of late last year together with the real estate market after years of stagnation. The development plans include a branded gated community of up to 140 small to mid-sized residential units as well as distinguished villas on a hilltop.
Ekaruna What is your advice for young emerging entrepreneurs who wish to specialise in this field?
There are several things they need to consider. They need to be innovative, prudent and diligent while maintaining a high level of integrity in their dealings with investors and counter parts in order to build a reputation that will help them grow.