x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Emaar indulges shareholders at annual meeting

Annual general meetings can be dull affairs, but Emaar’s gathering of shareholders in Dubai this week put the razzamatazz back into investor relations.

If you somehow missed the fact that Dubai’s property market is booming again, the developer’s prediction that it would triple profits in the next three years hammered home the message to the audience.

With profits of some Dh120 billion expected over the next 15 to 20 years, it is no wonder investors left the company’s annual general meeting on Wednesday on a high.

This satisfied the shareholders, several of whom, after lengthy praise of the company’s leadership, asked Emaar’s chairman, Mohamed Alabbar, why his forecasts were so conservative.

Perhaps prospects like these are why the popularity of annual general meetings are on the rise.

Or perhaps it’s because Emaar’s shareholder meeting, held at the Armani Hotel in the base of the Burj Khalifa, more closely resembled a jamboree than a business meeting.

Framed by a cityscape of skyscrapers, Emaar’s board presented a swaggering image. A short film showed how Emaar had expanded into India, Ebril, Egypt and Syria.

At several well-stocked tables, attendants stood ready to carve freshly-roasted chicken, lamb and beef. Next to the fresh pasta counter were a range of starters and mains including aubergine Parmigiana, sushi, and goat’s cheese wrapped in thinly-sliced courgette.

From the buffet to the bourse, it’s a good time to be an investor — so long as the corporate largesse lasts and the profit forecasts keep tripling.