x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Emaar says it is reviewing jobs

The Dubai developer hints it may cut its labour force, while Abu Dhabi construction firms say no change for now.

DUBAI // Dubai's Emaar Properties, the developer behind the worlds tallest tower, said on Thursday it was reviewing its jobs policy in light of the global financial crisis after other developers shed jobs. "It is now crucial that we use efficiency and maximise productivity, which includes revisiting our recruitment policies and optimising human resources," Emaar said in a statement. Emaar, the Gulfs largest property developer by market value, said it would look to reorient its growth strategies to tackle new realities.

The company did not give further details on the extent of the job review or specify if any jobs would be cut. Emaar shares, down nearly 80 percent this year, were down 5.04 per cent to Dh3.19 US$0.87) on Thursday. "This will help the company ... as it will save on overhead costs," said Hamood Abdulla al Yasi, general manager at Emirates International Securities. "That is their intention and they are not the first ... They are adapting to the bad situation."

Emaar is 32 per cent owned by the Dubai government. The UAE faces a slowdown in loan growth and property activity as it grapples with the fallout from the global financial crisis. Emaar's possible cuts come after Damac Holding, Dubai's largest property developer, said on Tuesday it would axe 200 jobs due to the worsening global outlook and expectations the emirates thriving real estate sector may have hit its peak.

Omniyat Properties, another Dubai-based developer, will also make redundancies as it rethinks the timing of new project launches, The National reported earlier on Thursday. Citing sources close to the firm, it said Omniyat would cut 60 jobs. Abu Dhabi's top two developers by market value Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate, both said they planned no cuts due to a healthy pipeline of projects. "No way, not a single job cut," said Ousama Ghanoum, spokesman at Aldar. The company has lots of commitments and projects to develop with tight deadlines, he said adding the firm behind Formula 1's newest track was still looking to hire.

Gurjit Singh, chief property development officer at Sorouh, echoed those sentiments, saying there was no slowing down and no job cuts. Lloyds TSB Middle East said on Monday that it had stopped granting mortgages for apartments in the UAE and would require a 50 per cent down payment for villas due to exceptional market conditions. Emaar Dubai Chief Executive Issam Galadari said last Friday it was giving customers more time to repay mortgages.

Mr Galadari said liquidity constraints at local banks had exacerbated the problems of securing home finance. Mohamed Alabbar, Emaar's chairman, said earlier this week that growth in the emirates property sector could slow to 9 per cent from 13 per cent due to the global downturn and that the Gulfs commercial hub had set up a committee to boost confidence in the property market. Emaar, which according to its website has developments beyond Dubai in excess of $65 billion, operates in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan, India and the United States.