Abu Dhabi’s Aldar creates $5.4bn real estate giant

Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, one of Aldar's flagship developments. (Supplied)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Abu Dhabi’s Aldar creates $5.4bn real estate giant

  • New unit could eventually list shares in IPO
  • Property company owns some of Abu Dhabi's top landmarks

DUBAI: Aldar Properties, the Abu Dhabi-government controlled real estate group, is to spin off its property assets into a new company that could eventually list separately on a stock exchange in an initial public (IPO) offering worth billions of dollars.
The developer — which has been responsible for some of the biggest projects in the emirates, including the F1 track on Yas Island — announced the creation of Aldar Investments, as a fully owned subsidiary that will hold property assets valued at 20 billion dirhams ($5.4 billion).
The move “is designed to drive greater operational and capital efficiencies that will unlock value for shareholders and create the foundation for a new phase of accelerated growth,” Aldar said at a launch event at Abu Dhabi Global Market (AGDM), the UAE’s capital’s financial free zone, where the new company will be based.
“The creation of Aldar Investments allows Aldar to spin off its recurring-revenue assets into a 100 percent-owned separate entity, with greater independence, focused governance and a more efficient cost structure,” the statement added.
Although the statement did not mention the possibility of an IPO, Aldar Properties chief executive Talal Al-Dhiyebi told journalists that it could consider a market listing at some stage in the future. “We are ready to monetize this business at the right time if it’s going to deliver more shareholder growth,” he said on CNBC television.
An IPO is not the only possible structure, however. One financier close to the company — who did not want to be named — said: “This is piece of financial engineering, but an honest one that creates value. It has all the features of a real estate investment trust, and that could imply long-term asset management rather than a market listing. It gives them a lot of options and is a smart way to go.”
Shares in Aldar Properties, currently listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), fell just over 2 percent on the announcement.
The new vehicle, which owns some of Abu Dhabi’s most recognized assets such as Yas Mall, The Gate Towers and over 2,400 hotel rooms near the F1 track, as well as the distinctive “coin” headquarters building, has been assigned a Baa1 rating by Moody’s ratings agency — the highest rating for a non-government corporate in the region and one notch above its parent company.
“Aldar Investments can access capital on more favorable terms, independently of Aldar, and intends to issue a new sukuk in the near term. Aldar Investments has set formal debt and dividend policies consistent with the current asset management business providing further clarity for investors,” the parent company said.
Mohamed Khalifa Al-Mubarak, chairman of Aldar Properties, called the move “another significant milestone in Aldar’s history.”
He added: “As the owner of 20 billion dirhams of prime real estate assets, Aldar Investments provides an opportunity for investors to benefit from Abu Dhabi’s AA rated economy.”
The move is also a boost for ADGM, bringing billions of dollars of assets within its jurisdiction on Al Maryah Island. Ahmed Al-Sayegh, the chairman of ADGM, said: “We are delighted that ADGM is continuing to be utilized not only as a platform for international business, but also to support our domestic businesses in their ongoing development and expansion.”
This move follows the recent Abu Dhabi Executive Council Decree, extending full onshore real estate ownership rights to Aldar Properties and its subsidiaries in Abu Dhabi.
Aldar recently announced significant joint ventures with its Dubai counterpart, Emaar, which has launched separate IPOs of its property, hotels and leisure businesses in recent years.


‘Get prices down’ Trump tells OPEC

Updated 20 September 2018
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‘Get prices down’ Trump tells OPEC

  • Trump highlights US security role in region
  • Comments come ahead of oil producers meeting in Algeria

LONDON: US president Donald Trump urged OPEC to lower crude prices on Thursday while reminding Mideast oil exporters of US security support.
He made his remarks on Twitter ahead of a keenly awaited meeting of OPEC countries and its allies in Algiers this weekend as pressure mounts on them to prevent a spike in prices caused by the reimposition of oil sanctions on Iran.
“We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!” he tweeted.
“We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!”
Despite the threat, the group and its allies are unlikely to agree to an official increase in output, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing OPEC sources.
In June they agreed to increase production by about one million barrels per day (bpd). That decision was was spurred by a recovery in oil prices, in part caused by OPEC and its partners agreeing to lower production since 2017.
Known as OPEC+, the group of oil producers which includes Russia are due to meet on Sunday in Algiers to look at how to allocate the additional one million bpd within its quote a framework.
OPEC sources told Reuters that there was no immediate plan for any official action as such a move would require OPEC to hold what it calls an extraordinary meeting, which is not on the table.
Oil prices slipped after Trumps remarks, with Brent crude shedding 40 cents to $79 a barrel in early afternoon trade in London while US light crude was unchanged at about $71.12.
Brent had been trading at around $80 on expectations that global supplies would come under pressure from the introduction of US sanctions on Iranian crude exports on Nov. 4.
Some countries has already started to halt imports from Tehran ahead of that deadline, leading analysts to speculate about how much spare capacity there is in the Middle East to compensate for the loss of Iranian exports as well as how much of that spare capacity can be easily brought online after years of under-investment in the industry.
Analysts expect oil to trend higher and through the $80 barrier as the deadline for US sanctions approaches.
“Brent is definitely fighting the $80 line, wanting to break above,” said SEB Markets chief commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop, Reuters reported. “But this is likely going to break very soon.”