Aldar Properties' full-year profit up 27% as revenues grow

The company will look at bond issuance opportunities as it continues with its acquisition plans, its chief financial and sustainability officer says

Aldar Properties' headquarters in Al Raha, Abu Dhabi. The company is looking to enter the Dubai market. Sammy Dallal / The National
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Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi’s biggest listed developer, reported a 27 per cent surge in its full-year profit as revenue increased on the back of strong growth in property sales.

Net profit attributable to owners of the company for the 12-month period to the end of December climbed to Dh2.9 billion ($789 million), compared with Dh2.3 billion during the same period in the previous year, Aldar said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded.

Revenue and rental income for the period jumped about 31 per cent annually to Dh11.2 billion.

The company recorded the highest annual group development sales of Dh14.4 billion, driven by strong resident and investor demand across existing inventory, plus new launches in Abu Dhabi and contributions from Egypt.

Finance income also rose more than four times to Dh217.6 million.

“The UAE economy is demonstrating remarkable stability in the face of global economic headwinds, with the country forging a confident path as a premier investment, business and lifestyle destination,” said Mohamed Al Mubarak, chairman of Aldar Properties.

“Against this backdrop, real estate market fundamentals remain robust, underpinning Aldar’s bold steps to play a pivotal role in the sustainable development of the sector and the wider economy.”

The UAE economy has made a strong rebound from the coronavirus-induced slowdown over the past two years and the pace of economic momentum has continued to improve on the back of government initiatives, higher oil prices, a strong performance in its real estate sector and a rebound in travel and tourism.

The Emirates' economy is estimated to have grown by 7.6 per cent last year — the highest in 11 years — after expanding by 3.9 per cent in 2021, according to the UAE Central Bank.

Overall, the country’s economy is projected to grow 3.9 per cent in 2023, while non-oil sector expansion is estimated at 4.2 per cent, according to the Central Bank.

The country's property market has also experienced a boom amid higher demand from buyers.

Abu Dhabi's property market recorded 4,441 transactions worth $5.7 billion in the three months to September, according to a report by the Department of Municipalities and Transport.

“Our prime investment property portfolio has proven resilient to global disruption and has experienced an increase in capital values, even at a time of rising interest rates and international market softness,” Aldar Properties' group chief executive Talal Al Dhiyebi said.

“Our development business attracted unprecedented demand from overseas buyers, and we have a strong pipeline of new developments, which will attract both local and international investment, including our first communities in Dubai.”

Our prime investment property portfolio has proven resilient to global disruption and has experienced an increase in capital values
Talal Al Dhiyebi, group chief executive, Aldar

Aldar plans to launch a dozen new projects this year amid the property market recovery and will continue to look for acquisitions to boost its portfolio, Jonathan Emery, chief executive of Aldar Development, told The National in January.

Major developments announced by the company in the past year include Yas Gate, Saadiyat Lagoons, the Grove District on Saadiyat Island and Louvre Abu Dhabi Residences.

The company is also looking to enter the Dubai market and earlier this month, Aldar signed a joint venture agreement with Dubai Holding to develop new real estate projects across prime locations in Dubai.

“The year ahead will see our financial strength position us well to capitalise on our growing opportunity set,” Mr Al Dhiyebi said.

“We will continue to deploy substantial capital in a disciplined manner to scale our platform across a diversified range of real estate asset classes.”

The company has a strong liquidity position with Dh6.5 billion in free cash and Dh4 billion of committed undrawn facilities.

It has earmarked Dh5 billion to fund a "strong pipeline of value-accretive acquisitions" over the next 12 to 18 months, according to the company.

Aldar will look at bond issuance opportunities as it continues with its acquisition plans, said Greg Fewer, Aldar's chief financial and sustainability officer, who is stepping down from the role.

“As our acquisition programme grows, we will have a natural requirement for term debt that could come from both the bank and the bond market, he said, adding that the company was “very well followed and supported” in the bond market.

“Like any issuer, we monitor that market daily, and quarterly around issuance opportunities and as and when they present themselves, we will be looking at them very closely.”

The company spent Dh11.3 billion on acquisitions in 2022 in logistics, commercial, retail, education, and hospitality sectors, as well as in geographic expansion in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. Total assets grew 24 per cent year on year to Dh61.2 billion.

Mr Fewer said China reopening will "directly impact our hotels and our malls retail base, as well as off plan sales".

“About a third of our sales in the UAE are now being effected through non-UAE nationals through international expatriates and investors. Those are the highest levels we have ever been at and we see a lot of further upside in that.”

Aldar has recommended a dividend of Dh0.16 per share, representing a total dividend payout of Dh1.3 billion in 2022.

Updated: February 09, 2023, 10:41 AM