x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Barwa spending spree pays dividends

Barwa Real Estate, the Qatari developer, reported soaring profits following an acquisition spree last year.

Barwa Real Estate, Qatar's biggest publicly traded developer by assets, says its profits soared after an acquisition spree last year.

Barwa said in a filing to the Qatar exchange yesterday its full-year net profit rose to 1.4 billion rials, up 84 per cent compared with 766 million rials in 2009. Revenues surged to 8bn rials, compared with 3bn rials last year. Barwa acquired Qatar Real Estate Investment Company and 60 per cent of Barwa Al Khor last year, which boosted its net profits, the company said. Barwa has also said it plans to hold an initial public offering for its Barwa Bank unit this year. The developer, established five years ago, embarked on a series of deals last year that aimed to enhance its position in the regional property sector, competing with Dubai's Emaar Properties, among others.

Since then, it has ventured outside its borders to invest in projects in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Russia. The developer has also invested in Egypt's New Cairo City Project, estimated to be worth $9bn and expected to be completed in 2023.

While sales are expected to slow considerably on that project in the short term due to uncertainty after the departure of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, its long-term prospects should not be affected.

"Barwa is a strong company. They are doing a lot of major projects inside the country and they have several billions of dollars invested outside of Qatar," said Abbas Shafiei, the managing director at Engel & Volkers in Doha. Barwa Bank, a Sharia-compliant lender, acquired two financing companies last year in the hopes of drawing investor interest if it goes public as planned.

The bank is also expected to benefit from the circular published by the country's central bank, which instructed conventional banks to close their Islamic branches and stop offering Islamic products in Qatar, Mr Shafiei said.

Barwa shares closed 5.5 per cent lower yesterday at 31.50 rials on investor concerns about the regional unrest.