Investment Corporation of Dubai's 2019 profit jumps 17% on banking and transport investments

Assets of the government's investment arm pass the Dh1tn mark following Emirates NBD's Denizbank acquisition

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Jan 20 , 2016 : Mohammed Al Shaibani , Executive Director & CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai speaking during the ICD Brookfield Place groundbreaking ceremony near DIFC in Dubai. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) For Business. Story by Michael Fahy. ID no : 47373 *** Local Caption ***  PS2001- BROOKFIELD05.jpg

Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the principal investment arm of the emirate’s government, reported a 17 per cent increase in net profit for 2019 following a strong performance from investments in banking and financial services as well as transportation businesses.

Net profit increased to Dh25 billion from the year-earlier period, ICD said in a statement on Tuesday . Profit attributable to its owner was up 11 per cent to Dh18bn, although revenue fell 2  per cent to Dh228bn due to a decline in oil and gas revenue and marginally lower transportation revenue.

“In 2019, ICD produced a very solid performance given the considerable challenges faced by the global economy and the effect that these have had on our businesses. The diversification of our activities and their resilience in volatile markets are two significant contributing factors when it comes to delivering consistent performance year-on-year," said Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, executive director of ICD.

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 Emirates National Oil Corporation, holds a minority stake in developer Emaar Properties and in the Dubai Airport Free Zone and the World Trade Centre.

In 2019, ICD's total assets passed the Dh1 trillion mark, growing by 27.5 per cent to Dh1.12tn. Liabilities also increased by 35.6 per cent to Dh869.7bn. Both increases were largely driven by Emirates NBD's acquisition of Denizbank, one of Turkey's biggest lenders with assets of 206bn Turkish lira (Dh111bn) at the end of 2019.

"The record asset level reached by ICD, well in excess of the Dh1tn mark, reflects the continued growth achieved by our key businesses over time and the scale of their operations," Mr Al Shaibani added.

Accounts showed that ICD generated more than Dh76bn worth of cash last year, and closed the period with cash and equivalents of Dh49.1bn, a 19 per cent increased from the prior-year period. Emirates airline held Dh20.2bn in cash and "entered this crisis in a strong position, having previously reported profits for the past 32 years" according to notes accompanying the accounts looking at the potential impact of Covid-19.

"In 2020, with the significant disruptions arising in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, we are focused on adjusting our operations to preserve their ability to operate competitively when the health crisis subsides. We remain confident that ICD’s businesses can deliver sustainable returns over the long term for the prosperity of Dubai,” Mr Al Shaibani said.

Notes to the accounts also confirmed that following the passing of a law in February, ownership of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre – one of the city's biggest free zones – is now with ICD.