x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Profits soar for Barwa

Barwa, the Qatar's biggest real estate developer, says profit doubled in the first quarter.

Profits at the Qatari property company Barwa more than doubled in the first quarter, shortly before its chief executive was replaced.

Revenue from rent and the sale of properties drove net profits to 548 million Qatari rials (Dh553m) for the quarter compared with 210m for the same period last year, the company said. Earnings per share rose to 1.41 rials from 0.80 rials a year earlier.

Total revenue for the quarter increased to 1.3 billion rials, up from 665m rials in the first quarter last year.

The report concludes an eventful period for the property and investment company, which is 45 per cent owned by Qatari Diar, the investment arm of the Qatar government.

In the first week of last month about 90 of the company's 600 employees were laid off, just two weeks after Mohammed Asad al Emadi was named as the group chief executive.

This triggered threats of resignation from several top executives, according to local press coverage. A few days later the company confirmed an "emergency co-ordination" meeting between company chairman Hitmi bin Ali al Hitmi and Mr al Emadi.

On April 17, Mr al Emadi was replaced by Abdulla bin Abdulaziz Turki al Subai'i, amid reports some of the jobs may be reinstated.

Barwa did not provide details on the sources of increased revenue for the quarter, except to cite "increased revenues from rents and services and profit on sale of properties and projects and sale of a Barwa stake in a subsidiary".

Profits were also aided by "re-appraising Barwa real estate investments", as well as increased activity from Barwa Bank. The company also confirmed it was expecting to launch the Barwa al Sadd development and the first phase of the Barwa Commercial Avenue by the end of the year.

Barwa al Sadd consists of three office towers ranging from 18 to 21 storeys in Doha. Barwa Commercial Avenue, which was originally scheduled to open next year, will eventually cover 8km and include 600 shops, 150,000 square metres of office space and 800 residential units.

The two developments will "increase rent revenues and foster the group's cash flows" by the end of the year, the company said.