Emaar Properties chairman upbeat despite revenue and profit slide

Mohamed Alabbar expects 'things will be in better shape in most sectors' by next summer

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, July 29, 2019.  People have bought new villas that were not equipped with fire alarms, which is against the law. --  Sidra 1, Dubai Hils Estate.
Victor Besa/The National
Section:  NA
Reporter:  Patrick Ryan

Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Alabbar said he remains "cautiously" optimistic about the prospects for the remainder of the year despite the company reporting a 26 per cent decline in revenue for the first nine months.

Dubai's biggest listed property developer's revenue fell to Dh13.4 billion ($3.6bn), leading to a 48 per cent year-on-year decline in net profit to Dh2.4bn.

"Covid-19 has hugely impacted businesses all over the world, but the plans and strategies that we adopted during the early stages of the pandemic, which included a restructuring of our businesses into leaner operations, showed our great agility in dealing with the crisis,” Mr Alabbar said.

“Looking to the future, I am cautiously optimistic about the remainder of the year and I am confident that things will be in better shape across most sectors by summer 2021."

Average apartment and villa prices in Dubai fell by about 10 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter, with off-plan sales "still limited and unlikely to pick up until the end of the year", consultancy Asteco said in its third quarter report.

Despite this, there has been "a marginal increase in property prices for specific unit types in select new developments" such as Emaar's Dubai Hills and Wasl Properties' Wasl Gate, the report said.

Dubai's recently-announced five-year retiree visa is expected to have a positive effect on the emirate's property market in the long term, but "until greater stability returns to the market, it is difficult to predict when conditions will normalise", it added.

Profits at Emaar Malls, owner of the Dubai Mall, fell 66 per cent for the nine-month period to Dh586m. Emaar Development reported a profit of Dh1.36bn, which was 34 per cent below the Dh2.07bn net profit attributable to shareholders achieved in the same period last year.

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