U.A.E.’s Habtoor Says He’s Been Buying Pounds After Decline

  • Al Habtoor may buy hotels in Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic
  • Company will wait until after September for investment in U.S

Dubai billionaire Khalaf Al Habtoor has been buying the British pound after it weakened against the U.S. dollar and said he’s seeking to expand in Europe.

“We’re expanding overseas right now’’ mostly in “safe regions,’’ Al Habtoor told Bloomberg Television in an interview Thursday. “We also bought a lot of pound sterling.”

Al Habtoor is expanding into central Europe and seeking properties in “safe regions” such as Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic and the U.K., he said. The company will wait until after September to assess whether to invest in the U.S. under President-Elect Donald Trump. Al Habtoor had called Trump a “loose cannon” and warned his possible U.S. presidency would be “dangerous” after Trump revealed plans to bar all Muslims from entering the country.

Trump’s comments on Muslim vetting are probably just “political talk” and won’t be implemented, Al Habtoor said.

Outside his home city of Dubai -- where the property tycoon is building 1,600 room hotel complex on the city’s main road -- Al Habtoor purchased the Hilton London Wembley in February after recently acquiring five properties in the U.S., Budapest and Beirut. His company’s interests range from education to auto and is investing 15 billion dirhams ($4 billion) in Dubai on projects to be completed by the end of 2017.

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