Aldar Properties, the biggest developer in Abu Dhabi, bought Al Hamra Mall in Ras Al Khaimah in a Dh410 million ($111.6m) deal as it expand its portfolio of investments in the UAE.
The transaction is Aldar’s first investment outside Abu Dhabi and it plans to further expand its footprint in Ras Al Khaimah, it said on Tuesday in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares trade.
“Ras Al Khaimah represents an attractive opportunity for Aldar, due to the emirate’s demographics, strong market dynamics and tourism sector fundamentals,” said Talal Al Dhiyebi, group chief executive at Aldar.
“It has emerged from the pandemic as a key investment destination within the UAE and we look forward to growing our presence over time.”
The company, through its investment platform, is assessing opportunities to invest more capital into new geographies and property types as part of an overarching growth strategy, he said.
“This initial transaction is very much in line with our plans to leverage Aldar Investment’s strengths to grow, diversify further and create significant value for our shareholders.”
Last year, Aldar adopted a new group operating model and organised its business into two segments. Aldar Investments is responsible for managing its Dh22bn portfolio of recurring income assets, including its hospitality portfolio. Aldar Development, meanwhile, is responsible for building the company's 75 million square metre land bank.
Aldar Properties has already expanded beyond the UAE. Last year, a consortium of Aldar Properties and one of the region’s biggest holding companies, ADQ, acquired a majority stake in Egypt’s Sixth of October for Development and Investment Company for 6.1bn Egyptian pounds ($386.8m).
Aldar's acquisition of the 27,000-square-metre mall developed by Al Hamra Group adds further scale and diversification to Aldar Investment, which manages its residential, retail, commercial, hospitality and education assets.
Aldar Investment plans to invest in reconfiguring the mall, broaden its offerings, introduce more high-end brands and enhance the customer experience to drive sales and footfall growth.
As part of the agreement, Aldar has also secured development rights for an extra 11,200 square metres of gross floor area, with an option to acquire an additional 7,400 sq m for retail and commercial use.
“As the UAE retail sector continues its robust recovery from the global pandemic, the acquisition of Al Hamra Mall provides Aldar Investment with a significant transformation opportunity in a key development zone in Ras Al Khaimah,” said Jassem Busaibe, chief executive at Aldar Investment.
“Our business has proven remarkably resilient in the challenging environment of the last two years, continuing to deliver steady recurring income. We are therefore in a strong position to expand through acquisitions such as this and deploy … asset management capabilities to deliver significant upside in terms of valuation and income.”
Completed in 2009 by Al Hamra Group, the mall benefits from a populous catchment area, with growth potential from tourism as well as residential and hospitality development around Al Hamra Village, Al Marjan Island and surrounding areas.
“We created a high-value asset, which is now being further enhanced by Aldar through its strategic investment,” said Benoy Kurien, chief executive of Al Hamra Group. “This reflects the tremendous potential of Ras Al Khaimah as a retail and tourist hub that can attract significant inward investments.”