Mohamed Alabbar says he was ‘really scared’ of 2016 market conditions
Emaar shareholders have approved a 15% cash dividend in an annual general meeting in which the boss of the Dubai developer acknowledged he was “really scared” of market conditions this year.
Mohamed Alabbar, Emaar’s chairman, said on the sidelines of yesterday’s meeting that he was wary about 2016 but that the company’s Q1 performance looks promising.
“We were really scared of 2016. Preparing for our cost budget, we basically went back to a cost budget base of two years ago, just to be cautious,” Mohammed Alabbar was quoted as saying by Reuters. “Did we cut costs? Yes, of course, a severe cost cut.”
Alabbar added that he was “pleasantly surprised” with Emaar’s performance in the first quarter of this year, with sales activity better than expected, Reuters reported.
Emaar’s 18th Annual General Meeting saw shareholders approve a cash dividend of 15 per cent of the share capital, equivalent to AED 1.074 billion ($292 million).
“With all core sectors of the economy performing exceptionally well, and with the preparations for the Expo 2020 Dubai progressing in full swing, the coming years will witness healthy growth trends in Dubai,” Alabbar said in a statement.
“We are setting new benchmarks this year, particularly with the opening of Dubai Opera, a multi-format events venue in Downtown Dubai. Emaar has also rolled out the magnificent tower that will form the vibrant heart of Dubai Creek Harbour, a one-of-a-kind masterplannned community that will further energise the city by welcoming visitors from around the world,” he added.
Emaar also said it is expanding its development portfolio in “high-growth international markets including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India and Turkey, among others”.
Emaar has assets valued at over AED 165 billion ($45 billion) and a land bank of 196 million sq m in the UAE and international markets, Emaar said.
The company recorded full-year 2015 net operating profit of AED 4.383 billion ($1.193 billion), 18 per cent higher than in 2014. Revenue stood at AED 13.661 billion ($3.719 billion), 33 per cent higher than the previous year.
In the UAE, total sales in 2015 were over AED 10.23 billion ($2.79 billion) while sales across various international markets in 2015 were valued at AED 5.05 billion ($1.37 billion).