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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 13/02/2014
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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Aldar Properties said yesterday that it would look to refinance Dh7.9bn (2.2bn) of debt maturing this year, as the Abu Dhabi developer reported a 79 percent jump in fourth-quarter net profit

The refinancing will include a 1.25bn bond that is to mature in May, Aldar's chief financial officer Greg Fewer told reporters in a conference call after the announcement of the results

Aldar, which built Abu Dhabi's Formula One race track, is recovering from a collapse in the emirate's property market that forced the company to take government support worth 10bn in exchange for some of its assets

The majority state-owned developer acquired rival Sorouh Real Estate last year, forming Abu Dhabi's largest property firm with assets in excess of 12bn

The developer now plans to spend Dh4.5bn to complete existing projects and also announce new developments this year

"We have ample liquidity - we are not left wanting for capital to invest in this," said Fewer

Aldar had Dh13.7bn of debt outstanding at the end of 2013, of which Dh7.9bn would be refinanced in 2014

"You could see us (doing) normal refinancing - banks or bonds - because of our strong credit ratings. We will also manage debts with government receivables, existing cash and liquidity already procured," Fewer said, adding that Aldar now had cash holdings of Dh8.3bn.

The company made a profit of Dh427m in the final quarter of 2013, compared to Dh239m in the corresponding period of 2012.

The result beat estimates by analysts at Naeem Holding who had forecast a fourth-quarter profit of Dh354m.

However, Aldar shares dropped two percent yesterday morning, apparently because of disappointment with its proposal for a seven percent cash dividend; investors had been hoping for more. A year earlier, its dividend was six percent

Abu Dhabi's real estate market slumped by about 50 percent from its peak in 2008 after the global financial crisis triggered a crash. But prices rebounded strongly last year, rising some 25 percent, on the back of a series of market-boosting measures by the government including the scrapping of annual rent caps.

"We are in a strong delivery phase right now. About 5,000 Aldar-owned units are being delivered into the Abu Dhabi market right now and that will contribute to revenues in the next four quarters," said Fewer

Revenue in the past quarter was also driven by the handover of key projects, including 199 units delivered at the Gate Towers in Abu Dhabi, and state projects.

Aldar's full-year profit was Dh2.25bn compared to Dh1.3bn in 2012, largely driven by a one-off gain of Dh2.6bn booked in the second quarter from the acquisition of Sorouh.


The Peninsula

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