Saudi Arabia’s Jabal Omar swings to first quarter loss amid coronavirus pandemic

The Riyadh-listed firm reports a loss of 217m riyals for the quarter

(FILES) This file photo taken on December 12, 2019, shows a view of the sign showing the logo of Saudi Arabia's Stock Exchange Market (Tadawul) bourse in the capital Riyadh. Saudi's stock exchange fell 6.5 percent, shares in oil giant Saudi Aramco dropped below their IPO price for their first time, and other Gulf markets tumbled to multi-year lows at the start of trading after OPEC and its allies failed to clinch a deal over oil production cuts. / AFP / FAYEZ NURELDINE
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Jabal Omar Development, a Riyadh-listed real estate company, reported a first-quarter loss as "other income" plunged and liabilities rose amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The developer reported a net loss of 217.3 million riyals (Dh212.7m) for the three months ending March 31, compared to a profit of 1.6m riyals a year ago, it said in a statement to the Tadawul stock exchange, where its shares trade. Revenue, however, rose 1 per cent year-on-year to 179.4m riyals during the period.

The group’s current liabilities exceeded its current assets by 442m riyals as of March 31, according to the filing. Accumulated losses for the period amounted to 399m riyals, equivalent to 4.29 per cent of the company’s capital.

“The company's business has been negatively affected by the precautionary measures taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus,” Jabal Omar said on Monday. It also cited a decrease of other income for the first-quarter loss.

Jabal Omar, which is one of the biggest publicly-listed real estate companies in Saudi Arabia, is developing a multi-use mega-project spanning 2 million square metres near the Great Mosque in Makkah. The company had temporarily suspended development work due to the pandemic.

The developer raised $135m (Dh495.7m) through an Islamic bond in 2018 to fund the development of property projects in and around Makkah.

Construction companies across the world are reporting lower profits in the first quarter, as the pandemic disrupted daily operations and hampered cash flow. The global economy is expected to contract 5.2 per cent in 2020, the World Bank said earlier this month.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil exporter in the world, had put movement restrictions in place to contain the virus but has eased these gradually over the last month.

Earlier this week, the country announced the setting up of a $4 billion fund to develop the tourism sector - a move that is part of a strategy to grow the industry's contribution to Saudi Arabia's gross domestic product by more than 10 per cent by 2030.