UAE’s Aldar Properties plans $750m spend in 2019

An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. Aldar Properties said its profits dropped in the first quarter of 2019. (File/Reuters)
Updated 15 May 2019

UAE’s Aldar Properties plans $750m spend in 2019

ABU DHABI: Aldar Properties, the largest property developer in Abu Dhabi, plans to spend 2.75 billion dirhams ($749 million) in 2019, its chief financial officer said after the company reported a 17.3 percent drop in first-quarter profit.
The state-linked builder of Abu Dhabi’s Formula One circuit made a net profit attributable to owners of 553 million dirhams in the three months to March 31, it said on Tuesday. That compared with a net profit attributable to owners of 669.5 million dirhams in the same period a year earlier.

 

SICO estimated a first-quarter profit of 546.61 million dirhams for Aldar, while EFG Hermes’ estimate was for 600 million dirhams. The lower net profit was partly dented by impairments and writedowns that almost doubled. Revenue totalled 1.77 billion dirhams in first quarter compared with 1.5 billion dirhams a year earlier. 
Aldar’s spending in 2019 is earmarked for residential and some commercial projects, said Chief Financial Officer Greg Fewer on a media call. The company has spent approximately 550 million dirhams in the first quarter, he said. 
Despite a weak property market in Abu Dhabi, Aldar expects full-year sales of 4 billion dirhams, with first-quarter actual sales totalling 1 billion dirhams. 
“We are keeping our 4 billion dirhams guidance ... reflecting our pipeline of projects, our customers and land bank,” he said. 
The bullish view is also due to the recent freehold law passed by Abu Dhabi allowing foreigners to own land. “It opens a multitude of new buyers and will have a positive impact on sales,” Fewer said.

FASTFACTS

17.3%

Drop in Aldar’s first-quarter profit.


Oman’s sultan says government will work to reduce debt

Updated 23 February 2020

Oman’s sultan says government will work to reduce debt

DUBAI: Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said said on Sunday the government would work to reduce public debt and restructure public institutions and companies to bolster the economy.
Haitham, in his second public speech since assuming power in January, said the government would create a national framework to tackle unemployment while addressing strained public finances.
"We will direct our financial resources in the best way that will guarantee reducing debt and increasing revenues," he said in the televised speech.
"We will also direct all government departments to adopt efficient governance that leads to a balanced, diversified and sustainable economy."
Rated junk by all three major credit rating agencies, Oman's debt to GDP ratio spiked to nearly 60% last year from around 15% in 2015, and could reach 70% by 2022, according to S&P Global Ratings.
The small oil producing country has relied heavily on debt to offset a widening deficit caused by lower crude prices. Also, the late Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for nearly 50 years, held back on austerity measures.
The country has delayed introducing a 5% value added tax from 2019 to 2021, and economic diversification has been slow, with oil and gas accounting for over 70% of government revenues.
Last week, rating agency Fitch said Oman was budgeting for a higher deficit of 8.7% for 2020 despite its expectation of further asset-sale proceeds and some spending cuts.
"We are willing to take the necessary measures to restructure the state's administrative system and its legislation," Haitham said in his first speech since the mourning period for Qaboos ended, without elaborating.
He said there would be a full review of government companies to improve their business performance and competence.
Oman observers have said that if Haitham moves to decentralise power it would signal willingness to improve decision making. Like Qaboos, he holds the positions of finance minister and central bank chairman as well as premier, defence and foreign minister.