x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Aldar: the worst behind us

Aldar Properties, the developer behind the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix leisure project, said profits fell 43.4 per cent in the third quarter.

DUBAI // Aldar Properties, the developer behind the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix leisure project, said profits fell 43.4 per cent in the third quarter, but added that the property market has started to recover. Net income fell to Dh429.8 million (US$117m) in the latest quarter compared to the same period last year, the company said.

Aldar also reported improving investor appetite for land and said the industry had moved past the worst of the property downturn. While there were no land sales between April and June, Aldar had Dh102m in sales in thelatest three months, said Shafqat Malik, the chief financial officer "The third quarter saw the opening of the market for land sales. There is an appetite and an interest for land especially at the projects that are near to completion," he said.

"The worst appears to be past us." Aldar Properties is Abu Dhabi's largest developer and the company behind some of the emirate's largest projects. Like other companies in the sector, it is refocusing on property management and affordable housing as demand for high-end residential projects wanes. Developers across the emirates have slowed construction as some 400 projects valued at as much as $300 billion have been put on hold or cancelled, according to Proleads.

Aldar's profits for the latest quarter marked a 71 per cent increase from the previous quarter, when the developer faced one of its most challenging periods. Starting on Friday, Aldar will enter into the global spotlight as the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix starts on Yas Island. Aldar spent two years building the first phase of the project, which includes the race track, seven hotels, a golf course, a marina and the beginnings of a massive Ferrari theme park. The Yas Island project is billed in the Abu Dhabi 2030 Plan as the new centre of leisure activities in the capital.

Aldar shares advanced 0.2 per cent yesterday before the results were announced. The stock has gained about 60 per cent this year. "I am pleased that in spite of the recent very challenging world economic conditions Aldar has continued to deliver positive results throughout the year and is seeing its assets grow in value," said Ahmed Ali al Sayegh, chairman of Aldar Properties. @Email:bhope@thenational.ae