Dubai’s Emaar Properties Q3 profit rises despite revenue drop

The rise came despite a fall in revenue stemming from a second successive quarterly drop in home sales

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Dubai’s Emaar Properties , the builder of the world’s tallest tower, reported a 21 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Wednesday.

The rise came despite a fall in revenue stemming from a second successive quarterly drop in home sales as the emirate’s property market showed further signs that recent rampant price growth was abating.

The developer, in which the government has a 31.2 percent stake, did not provide an explanation for the profit rise.

It made a net profit of 701 million dirhams ($191 million) for the three months to Sept. 30, it said in a statement. That compared with a profit of 581 million dirhams in the year-earlier period.

The earnings missed an estimate by brokerage SICO Bahrain, which had forecast Emaar’s quarterly profit would be 762.4 million dirhams.

The profit increase came despite revenue in the quarter dropping to 1.98 billion dirhams from 2.35 billion dirhams a year ago.

Homes sales slowed for a second quarter this year with Emaar selling units worth 1.5 billion dirhams in the period, down from 2.7 billion dirhams in the corresponding period in 2013, according to Reuters calculations.

Speculative buying and new project announcements have pushed up home prices, making them unaffordable to many and thus slowing sales, raising fears of another property market bubble.

Price rises had been among the steepest in the world in 2013 and the first half of this year, although data published at the end of the third quarter showed growth was slowing, leading to the International Monetary Fund to this week moderate warnings from earlier in the year.

Emaar’s chairman Mohamed Alabbar last week welcomed talk of a slowdown in the emirate’s property market and vowed to keep supplying new homes to help hold prices at “a reasonable level”.

The developer, which built Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest tower, announced a series of new projects this year including a new 6 million square metre waterfront project at The Lagoons with Dubai Holding on Monday.

Emaar’s third-quarter operating profit was 758 million dirhams, but its net profit was lower due to the company taking an impairment of 57 million dirhams relating to mortgage affiliate Amlak.

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