Some of the UAE's travel and tourism focussed stocks could see a rebound. The investor optimism isn't misplaced. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

This week DFM rallied by 2.92 per cent and ADX gained 1.99, with the biggest gainers Emirates Refreshments Co. (31.98 per cent), Ras Al Khaimah Ceramics (14.57 per cent), National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels (14.29 per cent), RAK Properties (11.55 per cent) and Agthia (10.11 per cent).

On the health front, all manufacturers have announced more than 12 billion vaccine doses for release this year, in case all vaccine options succeed in clinical trials. There is an unprecedented vaccination campaign happening across the world, and this is visible in UAE also.

Serpentine queues can be witnessed at a lot of health centres. Thanks to UNICEF and WHO, low- to mid-income countries will see a fast vaccine rollout. This should provide a lot of optimism for economy watchers and investors.

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Back in contention

As is pretty obvious, the hospitality sector will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of normalization returning.

The National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels, with a Dh1.57 billion market cap, owns and manages some of the best Abu Dhabi hotels and resorts, such as the InterContinental in Abu Dhabi, Danat Al Ain Resort, Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort and Dhafra Beach Hotel.

Tourism is one of the priority areas in the emirate's Economic Vision 2030. Despite many economic uncertainties, the Middle East can be considered as a fast-growing tourism destination. A wave of development projects happening across Abu Dhabi will improve visitor experience, and National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels is well-positioned to capitalize on this.

Impressive despite COVID-19

Aggregate revenues have actually risen in the first nine months of 2020, totalling Dh568.53 million against Dh557.97 million in 2019. The company has three divisions - hotel, retail and catering. In 2020, hotel-related revenues fell 45 per cent to Dh95.98 million from Dh139.21 million.

Retail fell marginally by 4 per cent to Dh54.47 million. What pulled up the company's performance was the catering division, where sales rose 13 per cent to Dh422.71 million from Dh368.80 million. For National Corporation, hotel division accounts for 17 per cent, retail was nearly 10 per cent, and catering contributes the rest. The share of catering was 65 per cent in 2019, and hotels were at 25 per cent.

More coming

The InterContinental Grand Marina Residences, Saadiyat Island Resort and ADNEC mixed-use project are the expansion projects planned by National Corporation. Among them, InterContinental Grand Marina Residences and ADNEC mixed-use project are to be completed this year.

The expansion and expected economic recovery should enable it to post strong revenue growth. Another aspect is the presence of strong stakeholders - Al Nahyan Hamdan Bin Mubarak owns 312.48 million shares, Al Mheiri Shaheen Mohammed Abdul Aziz has 108.92 million shares, and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Sultan owns 61 million shares.

National Corporation is a good bet on Abu Dhabi's Vision 2030...

- Vijay Valecha is Chief Investment Officer at Century Financial.