Sobha Realty targets Dh2 billion in sales in 2019 to boost growth

IPO plans are still on track with likely listing in 2022, its chairman says

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 25 SEPTEMBER 2019. Opening day of the 2019 Cityscape Exhibition. PNC Menon, Founder of SOBHA Group. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Fareed Rahman. Section: Business.
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Sobha Realty, the property developer building the $4 billion (Dh14.7bn) Sobha Heartland scheme in Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid City, aims to increase its sales more than three times this year to Dh2bn on higher demand from Asian clients.

"We are doing very well in this market and this year has been great for us ... we should be able to complete our sales target," PNC Menon, the company's chairman told The National. The company has so far achieved Dh1.3bn in sales and over the next five years is targeting Dh3bn per annum. That compares with Dh600 million in sales last year.

Sobha is selling units from its Sobha Heartland project and this week rolled out a new scheme named Creek Vista Reserve at the Dh743,224 square metre luxury freehold master development in Mohammed bin Rashid City. The Dh800m project will feature 750 one and two-bedroom apartments and is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2023.

Chinese nationals have been its top buyers, followed by GCC nationals and customers from India. The company opened its marketing office in Shanghai and Beijing this year to capitalise on demand from the Chinese nationals as ties between the UAE and the second largest economy in the world strengthen.

Sobha's plans to go public are still on track with a likely listing in 2022 depending on the market conditions, Mr Menon said.

“There are still some parameters which we were supposed to finish and if we were able to finish those parameters by the end of 2021 then we will go public,” he said without revealing further details. The company has not decided on a venue for the listing.

Mr Menon is optimistic about Dubai’s property market despite a slowdown due to oversupply and low oil prices.

“As long as the population grows, there will be demand. Dubai is one of the best cities to live in the Middle East and North Africa as well as [for those in] the Indian subcontinent due to excellent infrastructure and friendly measures by the government,” he said.

Sobha is financing its projects through a mix of debt and equity and is looking to expand outside the UAE, especially in Europe after recently opening a marketing office in London.

The UAE property market slowed in the wake of a drop in oil prices that began in 2014, as well as ongoing concerns about an oversupply of properties. Experts, however, have forecast a recovery on the back of a new immigration regime offering long-term visas for investors, the Dh50 billion Ghadan 21 economic stimulus initiative, Expo 2020 and changes to the freehold property law.

In a report last month, Dubai real estate listings portal Property Finder said a record number of residential units, expected to come online in the second half of the year, will push Dubai property prices lower making apartments more affordable which will boost sales in the property market.

A total of 20,978 residential units were completed in the first half of 2019, according to Property Finder estimates. An additional 38,426 residential units within 152 projects that have at least an 85 per cent completion status as of July, are scheduled to be delivered by the end of the year.