Beirut race track company declares a profit

SOLIDERE, the company which is redeveloping central Beirut and is behind the plan to run a Grand Prix in the streets of the city, has announced that it made a profit of $1.9m last year. The company made a $31m loss in 2000.

Solidere was established in 1994 by the then Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and was given the soul right to redevelop the war-torn downtown area. Those with property which did not fit in with the redevelopment plan were forced to give up their ownership in exchange for shares in the company, which is listed on various stock exchanges (although Al-Hariri is the largest shareholder). When Al-Hariri lost power in 1998 there were questions over the legality of the company and that meant that development work slowed but he was returned to power in 2000.

Many of the rebuilding projects have been delayed as a result and a weak property market have meant that a lot of offices built by Solidere have remained empty.

The company is keen to host a race because it will help to give Beirut a little more glamour and so create more interest in the city...

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