KUN0067 4 GEN 0238 KUWAIT /KUNA-ATD8 ECO-UAE-ARMANI-HOTELS Armani signs USD 1 billion venture to open hotels with Emaar DUBAI, Feb 22 (KUNA) -- Giorgio Armani, the Italian fashion company, signed an agreement Sunday with UAE-based company Emaar Properties to open 14 luxury hotels and resorts around the world. Armani and Emaar agreed to open 10 hotels and four resorts within seven years in cities including Dubai, London, Milan, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Shanghai with an estimated total investment of more than USD 1.0 billion, Emaar said in a statement Milan-based Armani said in an e-mailed statement. Emaar, based in Dubai, is the largest real estate development company in the Arabian Gulf countries. The Letter of Intent, signed by Giorgio Armani, Chairman and Chief Executive of Giorgio Armani, and Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Chairman of EMAAR Properties and EMAAR Hotels and Resorts. The Dubai 'Armani Hotel' will include 250 suites, restaurants and a spa, covering more than 40,000 square meters, located at EMAAR Properties' new Burj Dubai development, the world's tallest residential and commercial building. Alongside the hotel's suites, the Burj Dubai will offer 150 luxury residential apartments all conceptualized by Giorgio Armani and fully furnished with a specially designed line of products from the Armani Casa collection. The tower is the centerpiece of a new 160-hectare community adjacent to the Dubai Mall. -- Giorgio Armani said, "We have been exploring the idea of bringing the Armani philosophy of design and style to hotels for many years. We have been approached by many legitimate third parties with an interest in such a possibility. After very careful consideration, however, we have selected EMAAR Properties to be our partner in this significant, long term venture to develop a unique collection of luxury hotels and resorts around the world, because of their expansive vision, their expertise in real estate development and resort management and their appreciation for the intrinsic value of the Armani name and aesthetic." Mohamed Ali Alabbar said, "As a result of Giorgio Armani's indelible imprint in the world of fashion, today the 'Armani' name is synonymous for modern elegance, style and above all exceptional quality. These are the attributes that will characterize and define the collection of hotels and resorts that we will open in the world's most important cities and vacation destinations in the coming years. This is an ambitious collaboration, but one which is backed by the enthusiasm and passion of two partners with a like-minded commitment to innovation and excellence." Under the terms of the Letter of Intent, the Dubai-based EMAAR Properties, which since its inception in 1997 has become the largest property development company in the Middle East, will be responsible for real estate, construction and management of the 'Armani Luxury Hotels and Resorts', while Giorgio Armani will be responsible for all aspects of content, design and style. Including architecture, interiors, furnishings and amenities using specially designed items from the various Armani collections. - A management company for the Armani Luxury Hotels and Resorts project will be established with its headquarters in Milan, facilitating the close involvement of both the Giorgio Armani Group and EMAAR Properties in all aspects of business and design. Mohamed Ali Alabbar, who is also a Governor of the World Economic Forum, established EMAAR Properties in 1997 as a public joint stock company with a paid up share capital of USD 721 million, 32 percent of which is held by the Government of Dubai. Today EMAAR Properties with a shareholder equity of USD 1.8 billion is the largest developer in the region with major commercial and residential projects, including Emirates Hills, Dubai Marina, Arabian Ranches and now the Burj Dubai Master Plan community. EMAAR's mission statement is 'Shaping the Future, Today' and the skyline of Dubai already bears testimony to the company's growing presence. EMAAR is also a globally diversified conglomerate with the Dubai Bank and Amlak Finance Company, Dubai's largest mortgage provider, under its ownership. The Armani Group is one of the leading fashion and luxury goods groups in the world today with 4,700 direct employees and 13 factories. It designs, manufactures, distributes and retails fashion and lifestyle products including apparel, accessories, eyewear, watches, jewelry, home interiors, fragrances and cosmetics under a range of brand names: Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, AJ/Armani Jeans, A/X Armani Exchange, Armani Junior and Armani Casa. The Group's exclusive retail network currently comprises: 58 Giorgio Armani boutiques, 12 Armani Collezioni stores, 121 Emporio Armani stores, 68 A/X Armani Exchange stores, 11 AJ / Armani Jeans stores, 6 Armani Junior stores, 1 Giorgio Armani Accessories store and 14 Armani Casa stores in 36 countries. (end) mb.bk KUNA 221813 Feb 04NNNN