Riffa Views has new team
Manama, January 27, 2010
Spanish development company Layetana has pulled out of its management deal with Bahrain's Riffa Views residential resort.
The Barcelona-based firm was brought in under a management shake-up last April, to oversee the delayed completion of the project and the handover of 1,000 villas.
The company seconded its managing director Alfredo Laffitte to take over as chief executive officer, replacing the outgoing Richard Browning, while Xavier Sala took over as chief operations officer.
But Layetana has 'decided to end the association on its own,' said a Riffa Views official.
The resort's managing director Yasser Abdulrahman Al Raee said in an email to homeowners that Layetana had refocused its strategy towards the European market, where it has its core business.
'This means that Alfredo and Xavir have returned to Layetana's headquarters in Spain. We are grateful for their contribution during their assignment with Riffa Views,' he said.
Laffitte left Bahrain before Christmas, when he was said to have gone on leave.
Al Raee said as a result of the change, Riffa Views shareholder (Arcapita) had appointed him as its representative to oversee the completion of the project.
'We recognise that we still have much to do in a number of areas, but we have many reasons to believe that we have put some of the major obstacles behind us and the project is generating a very positive momentum,' he said in the email.
Riffa Views has renegotiated contracts with the two main contractors, put in place a strengthened customer care team and added a dedicated villa delivery team, he said.
'At the same time, the handover of villas is gathering pace and has approached the 150 milestone.'
The 150th villa was handed over on Sunday.
Al Raee thanked homeowners for their patience and continued support, and reiterated their 'absolute commitment' to deliver Riffa Views villas to homeowners as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Layetana corporate director Maribel Melendez told the GDN from Barcelona yesterday that the company had withdrawn from Riffa Views because it wanted to pursue its commitments in Poland.
'We have made some heavy investments in Poland and are working with Arcapita there as well, as we were in Bahrain,' she said.
'When we signed up in April, we expected a long-term arrangement, but in December we thought we should focus on our Poland venture and call back our people.
'We think we have done what we had been called to do in Bahrain.
'Arcapita had asked us to help in the venture and we did. We left when we thought was the right time to leave.'
She denied Layetana had 'run away' from Bahrain, as was the impression amongst some homeowners. 'We did not escape. We left sooner than we had thought we would, but we continue our association with Arcapita, which is very solid and dates back many years.'
Browning said at the time of the Layetana deal that the company's addition to the management team would improve the experience for homeowners over the months ahead and was a further demonstration of the commitment to build and deliver a world-class project for Bahrain.
He said the partnership with Layetana would also ensure continuity and consistency at Riffa Views.
Laffitte said at the time that Layetana had a strong track record of efficient and reliable delivery of large real estate projects. He said it was pleased to be joining what it believed was a standout project in the region.-TradeArabia News Service