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Key London development seeking Middle East cash

Quintain Estates is looking to sell up to 50% to a strategic partner for the £2.5 billion mixed use project which is facing finance challenges.

The company has already announced its intention to slash costs in the face of deteriorating conditions in the UK property market.

It plans a 10% reduction in overheads, cutting over half of the jobs at its Wembley (London) division and reducing running costs at its Greenwich Peninsula Regeneration company by £4.1 million.

Deputy chief executive Nick Shattock is in Dubai at the Cityscape expo looking for investors. He is understood to be talking to potential investors from Dubai and Bahrain.

'We are looking to market a stake in Wembley, which is as much as 50%, to a long-term strategic partner. We are aware that anybody interested in a scheme the size of Wembley would also like to acquire a strategic stake in Quintain stock,' he said.

Quintain revealed in its interim results last week that it has let two hectares of its Silvertown site to Laing O'Rourke, which will use the space as a transport link for materials to and from the Olympic Park.

It currently has only four projects under construction: two residential blocks at Wembley, one scheduled to complete this month and the other in March 2010; commercial buildings at Greenwich Peninsula, due to complete next spring; and One Brighton, a 172-unit residential scheme in the South-east of England.

Although Quintain has planning consent for further schemes in Wembley, Greenwich Peninsula and Birmingham, it declined to give a start date for any of them, saying only that they would 'provide significant value opportunities when the market recovers'. The company also announced that it will not be making dividend payments until 2010.

With the current outlook in the UK's property market signalling a substantial drop in prices, the time is perfect for UAE investors who have plenty of liquidity, according to Shattock.