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Dubai cooling specialist Empower raising cash for expansion

The Dubai district cooling specialist Empower is raising Dh1 billion for new projects as the company gears up for expansion.

The Dubai district cooling specialist Empower is raising Dh1 billion (US$3.67bn) for new projects as the company gears up for expansion.

Empower said it had already raised Dh600 million in loans from one local and one international bank and it was in discussions with another local bank to raise a further Dh400m.

The joint venture between Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (Tecom) Investments and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), which celebrates its tenth birthday this year, said that it had paid down its original Dh1.3bn in outstanding loans to Dh480m.

Empower yesterday posted net profits of Dh190m - an increase of 17 per cent compared with the previous year.

The profits came on the back of sales of Dh701m - an increase of 5 per cent compared with the previous year.

"We can't stop here and say 'khalas' we have to continue," Ahmed Bin Shafar, the chief executive, said during a press conference to announce the company's financial results yesterday. "The district cooling market in the UAE is worth a total of Dh15bn, and we calculate that over the next five to six years it will grow to around Dh42bn."

He added that Empower's strategy was to increase its market share in the UAE before expanding into other regional markets.

"We want to expand into the GCC and are talking with developers, but we now have to formulate how, either through a joint venture or some other way. Are we going to move? Yes. When? Not until we are on solid ground," Mr Bin Shafar added. "I don't want to get into the situation others had."

The company said its annual cooling capacity had increased 8 per cent over the year to 400,000 refrigeration tons and its workforce grew 9 per cent.

Mr Bin Shafar said that the company was looking at conducting an initial public offering "two to three years down the road" and that it was also looking at taking over other district cooling companies.

In response to continued customer concerns about spiralling bills, Mr Bin Shafer blamed increased water and electricity costs and added that the company hoped to reduce bills in future by optimising production. "There is no future increase on the horizon," he added.

 

lbarnard@thenational.ae

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