Abu Dhabi’s Aldar plans new property launches as profit rises 79%

Developer says it plans new residential development launches for the first half of 2014

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Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties reported a 79 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit on Wednesday, on the back of gains from the acquisition of former rival Sorouh Real Estate and the handover of more residential units.

Aldar said it plans new residential development launches for the first half of 2014, without giving further details.

The builder of Abu Dhabi’s Formula One race track made a profit of 427 million dirhams ($116.3 million) in the final quarter of 2013, it said in a statement. This compares to 239 million dirhams in the corresponding period of 2012.

The result beat estimates by analysts at Naeem Holding who had forecast a fourth-quarter profit of 354 million dirhams.

The majority state-owned developer merged with Sorouh last year, forming the emirate’s largest property firm with assets in excess of $12 billion.

Aldar said revenues in the fourth quarter were driven by the handover of key projects, including 199 units delivered at the Gate Towers in Abu Dhabi, and state projects.

Aldar’s full-year profit was 2.25 billion dirhams compared to 1.3 billion dirhams in 2012, largely driven by a one-off gain of 2.6 billion dirhams booked in the second quarter from the acquisition of Sorouh.

The developer said that by the end of 2013, it had repaid a further 2.25 billion dirhams of debt and received 3.5 billion dirhams of contractual payments from the government. Aldar was bailed out by Abu Dhabi with an injection of about $10 billion in 2011.

The company says it will look to refinance 7.9 billion dirhams ($2.2 billion) worth of debt this year, and is open to bank loans as well as bonds, according to its chief financial officer.

“You could see us (doing) normal refinancing - banks or bonds - because of our strong credit ratings. We will also manage debts with government receivables, existing cash and liquidity already procured,” Greg Fewer said on a conference call with reporters.

Aldar booked impairments and fair-value losses of 1.5 billion dirhams in 2013, the result of a review of its assets over the course of the year and particularly during the merger.

Abu Dhabi’s real estate market slumped by about 50 percent from its peak in 2008 after the global financial crisis triggered a crash. But prices rebounded strongly last year, rising some 25 percent, on the back of a series of market-boosting measures by the government including the scrapping of annual rent caps.

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