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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Record annual profits for Waha Capital

The Abu Dhabi-based investment firm announced profits of Dh1.73 billion for the year, a 466 per cent increase over 2013’s figures.
Waha Capital chief executive Salem Al Noaimi wants to grow the company’s energy, infrastructure, healthcare and education projects. Delores Johnson / The National
Waha Capital chief executive Salem Al Noaimi wants to grow the company’s energy, infrastructure, healthcare and education projects. Delores Johnson / The National

Waha Capital yesterday reported record annual profit as the company reaped dividends from its holding in the New York-listed airline leasing company AerCap.

The Abu Dhabi-based investment firm’s net profit for 2014 jumped 465 per cent to Dh1.73 billion compared with Dh306.4 million in 2013.

The increase was largely attributable to a one-off gain of Dh1.13bn in the second quarter after it unlocked part of the value of its stake in AerCap.

Waha’s profit for the fourth quarter nearly doubled to Dh142.1m from Dh75.6m in the same period last year.

Waha’s board recommended a cash dividend of 25 fils per share, a 100 per cent increase on 2013 dividends, a move welcomed by analysts.

“The dividend payment is something that everyone will appreciate coming through, and will boost confidence in management,” said Sanyalak Manibhandu, a senior analyst at National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

“For a long time people didn’t believe they would increase the dividend payment, but now that they’ve done so people will be a lot more positive about their statements on the subject.”

While AerCap provided the largest contribution to the growth in annual earnings, the firm said that its capital markets division also delivered above-market returns from its credit and equities portfolios.

“Waha Capital has delivered an exceptional year, in which we have produced a 51 per cent return on equity,” said Hussain Al Nowais, the Waha chairman.

“The company is in excellent shape to take advantage of the attractive investment opportunities we see emerging in the Mena region.”

The company said that it had acquired 30.2 million shares as of mid-January as part of a buy-back programme launched in September.

The buy-back programme will end on October 19.

Waha plans to invest Dh3.2 billion in the short term to grow its energy, healthcare and infrastructure portfolio, its chief executive told Reuters.

“We would like to deploy our firepower of Dh3.2bn to grow our energy, infrastructure, healthcare and education projects,” Salem Al Noaimi told the newswire, adding some deals are close to finalising. He did not elaborate.

Waha Capital set up a new unit in May to drive its future investments in the energy sector across the Middle East and North Africa. It invested Dh274m in a 20.15 per cent stake in the Dubai-based oil and gas company National Petroleum Services .

Dunia Finance, a UAE consumer finance company in which Waha Capital owns a 25 per cent stake, grew its loan book by 47 per cent last year. Customer deposits grew by 61 per cent to Dh828.7m during the same period. The company ended the year with a customer base of 164,600.

Waha’s shares closed down 2.2 per cent at Dh3.11 yesterday.

jeverington@thenational.ae

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