Abu Dhabi's Senaat revenues rise 3.5% to Dh16.3bn in 2018

The industrial holding company is focusing on trimming costs even as it eyes strategic greenfield projects this year


Jamal Al Dhaheri, CEO of Senaat.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

Reporter: Jennifer Gnana
Section:  BZ
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Abu Dhabi's industrial holding company Senaat saw revenues increase 3.5 per cent to reach Dh16.3 billion in 2018, on the back of cost-cutting even as it eyes growth opportunities this year.

Senaat's assets under management remained nearly flat at Dh27.3bn at the end of 2018, the company said on Sunday.

"There’s a huge growth aspiration we have in Senaat, so we’re looking at opportunities in M&A [mergers and acquisitions] to acquire companies or greenfield projects, that’s something that we’ve proven over the past year,” Senaat chief executive Jamal Al Dhaheri told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

Senaat manages key non-oil players such as the UAE’s largest steel producer Emirates Steel, National Petroleum Construction Company, and Ducab among others. The holding company is mandated to execute industrial sector activity through investments in metals, oil and gas services and construction, as well as food and beverage manufacturing.

Senaat’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 20 per cent to reach more than Dh2.5bn last year.

The holding company will focus on growing assets without shaving off profitability, even it looked to extend cost-cutting initiatives well into this year, said Haseeb Shaikh, Senaat’s vice president, portfolio management.

"Growth does not mean we’re sacrificing on profitability. In 2018 we’ve done exactly that, grown the asset base,” he said.

“It’s part of our theme, every team, management, the focus on cutting costs is key. We’ll continue to do that, we’ll continue to grow sustainably."

The company was still evaluating whether to take public companies under its management. Senaat has so far listed construction materials manufacturer Arkan as well as food and beverage company Agthia on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. Senaat retained a 51 per cent stake in both companies.

"That’s a dynamic exercise, we’ve opened it and we always test it. Is the company ready [for an IPO]? Is the value right for us? So we’re doing it right,” said Mr Al Dhaheri.

Senaat last year issued a $300 million Sharia-compliant bond largely to refinance existing debt at subsidiary Emirates Steel. The company, which listed the bond on the London Stock Exchange as well as the Abu Dhabi bourse, had said it would look to issue another bond this year.

The holding firm’s sukuk was raised at a profit rate of 4.76 per cent with a seven-year tenure and was rated A3 by Moody’s and a stable A by Fitch.