Investment Corporation of Dubai revenue climbs 24% in 2021

Turnover rose to $46bn in 2021, driven by rallying oil prices and underpinned by a recovery in other sectors

ICD owns stakes in Emirates airline and Dubai's biggest bank, Emirates NBD. Reuters
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The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the principal investment arm of the emirate’s government, swung to profit in 2021 owing to an improved performance across its businesses, higher revenue and lower impairments.

Revenue surged 24.5 per cent annually to Dh169.4 billion ($46bn) in 2021, driven primarily by rallying crude prices, higher levels of activity in transport and strong momentum in other sectors as coronavirus-induced curbs were eased, ICD said in a regulatory filing with Nasdaq Dubai on Tuesday.

Lower impairments in banking, hospitality and the property sectors, along with higher aluminium production operations also helped ICD's 2021 earnings, the company said.

“In 2021, the ICD Group saw the overall level of activity of its businesses increase materially and profitability bounce back,” said ICD managing director Mohammed Al Shaibani.

“While good progress was made during the earlier part of the year, despite the virus variant disruptions, the second part of the year saw a much stronger recovery, helped by the easing of global travel restrictions and the positive impact of the hosting of Expo 2020 Dubai."

ICD's net profit attributable to its owner swung to Dh5.5bn, from a Dh18.9bn net loss a year earlier.

The UAE economy has made a strong bounce-back from the Covid-induced slowdown, boosted by pandemic-mitigation measures and Dh388bn in fiscal and monetary support since the onset of the global health crisis.

It is expected to grow by 4.9 per cent in 2022, Japan's largest lender MUFG said, while Emirates NBD has forecast growth of 5.7 per cent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank expects a 5 per cent expansion, supported by a strong oil sector performance.

Oil prices have gained more than 70 per cent since last year on supply concerns, the Ukraine war and improved demand as global economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our portfolio companies reaped the benefits of the steps taken earlier during the pandemic to protect their businesses, adapt their models, and enhance cost-effectiveness," Mr Al Shaibani said.

“The proactive measures taken by the UAE government and the leadership of Dubai to manage the effects of the pandemic contributed meaningfully to Dubai’s strong economic rebound and in making Dubai an even more attractive place to live and work."

ICD owns stakes in some of Dubai's biggest and best-known names, including Emirates airline and Dubai's biggest bank, Emirates NBD. It also owns the Emirates National Oil Corporation, holds a minority stake in developer Emaar Properties and in the Dubai Airport Free Zone and the World Trade Centre.

ICD's balance sheet remained above Dh1 trillion while assets and liabilities were down 1 per cent to Dh1,101.1bn and Dh862.7bn, respectively, mainly due to lower banking balances that offset the growth of non-banking operational balances, as well as a cautious approach to the use of capital expenditure.

The group’s share of equity decreased 1 per cent to Dh190.6bn.

“Our balance sheet stayed resilient despite the significant volatility of the global economy," said Mr Al Shaibani.

The group is “well positioned to benefit further from new opportunities”, he said.

Updated: May 31, 2022, 11:29 AM