UPDATE: Egypt denies Arabtec project to build a million homes has stalled

An Egyptian government official on Monday denied a local media report that a project for Dubai-based builder Arabtec to build a million homes in the north African country had stalled.

"We are at the stage of preparing the contracts after receiving the necessary approvals, and we await the opinion of Arabtec's new management," assistant housing minister Khaled Abbas told Reuters by telephone.

Shares in Arabtec dropped 3.3 percent on Sunday after Egyptian newspaper Al Mal reported, citing an anonymous source, that the deal over the project had fallen through.

The firm was not immediately available for comment. Its shares were up 2.15 percent in early trading.

Abu Dhabi businessman Mohamed Thani Murshed Ghannam al-Rumaithi was elected chairman of Arabtec earlier this month, the latest in a series of senior management changes over the past year.

Egyptian officials have said the entire housing project will cost about LE280 billion ($36.7 billion) and Arabtec said in April the first phase would involve building 100,000 homes.

The project is seen as part of economic and political support for Egypt by the United Arab Emirates, which has provided billions of dollars of aid to Cairo since Islamist president Mohamed Mursi was ousted in 2013.

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