The recent wave of IPOs have been firing up volumes on DFM, and so have listed property companies and banks. Amidst these are those in the midst of a turnaround, such as Union Properties, Gulf Navigation and Amlak. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: The Union Properties’ comeback story continues, with the Dubai developer confirming net profits of Dh812 million for 2023 – and quite the leap from the Dh30 million of the year before. And well past the succession of losses it had undergone prior to that.

The revenues for 2023 were Dh508 million, which means the profit tally would feature one-off gains or other factors. Even then, the Dh812 million comes from a ‘successful turnaround strategy’ and which ‘continues to demonstrate positive results’. Union Properties also mentions progress on cost efficiencies and debt restructuring, which is the one it struck with Emirates NBD.

These are preliminary results, and the complete breakdown of costs and all the rest of it will be released soon enough.

But on the numbers provided, “Union Properties’ turnaround plans seem to be working – and working well,” said an analyst. “Legacy issues seem to be getting settled, whether that’s the debt restructure with Emirates NBD or the deal struck with Dubailand on Motor City land use.

15% limit up

The UP share price is up 10 per cent year-on-year - and today it's been in cracking form by hitting the 15 per cent limit up in a session. The stock is trading at Dh0.31. The 52-week high remains Dh0.46.

This week, UP also confirmed it had re-initiated action against its former chairman, to claw back funds of more than Dh600 million. A deal was struck in April 2023, but the ex-official reneged on those commitments.

“Those funds once they return to UP will give it more flexibility on whatever new project plans it may have,” said the analyst.

In the prelim numbers, UP said it had assets valued at Dh4.7 billion after seeing it increase by Dh666 million through the course of 2023.

We are working towards a range of ambitious goals, including the launch of Dh5 billion worth of projects over the coming few years. Today, we face the future with more confidence, envisioning a new chapter of growth

- Amer Khansaheb, board member and Managing Director of Union Properties

Amlak stays the course

The Dubai financial services company Amlak was another to provide its initial 2023 numbers, which show net profit down to Dh259.26 million against Dh476.14 million a year ago. Revenues were fairly stable, at Dh3.24 billion compared to Dh3.43 billion.

While on the face of it, the net profit decline would be disappointing, the fact remains that Amlak too is turning in a comeback. “The more pertinent point is that Amlak had a second successive year of profitability, having cleaned up its books, sold non-core assets, etc.,” said an analyst.

“Most tellingly, it is working towards an exit from the Common Terms Agreement, which also shows confidence that a full turnaround is happening.”

It was in May last year that Amlak – at one time one of the bigger mortgage players in the country – started talks with financiers to exit the Common Terms Agreement. (Under the CMT, Amlak got the space to take on its legacy losses and pare them down.)

In a statement, Amlak said: “These negotiations are ongoing.”

Amlak - whose stock is down 1.3 per cent after going through some major upswings in the last 12 months - plans to call a general assembly shortly to update shareholders on these talks with the financiers. 

Status updates on Gulf Navigation, Drake & Scull International, Amanat
Gulf Navigation: The shipping company has seen a 410 per cent rise in net profit to Dh23.8 million, thus making more progress in getting an operational and financial turnaround. Revenue for 2023 came to Dh108.2 million, down from Dh137 million.

Drake & Scull International: 2023 revenues were at Dh93.8 million, from Dh81 million, but losses widened to Dh352.1 million from Dh224.3 million. The engineering and project firm is still working on a full turnaround strategy to deliver results. But it has got itself time and space needed to make things happen after a recent judgement by a Dubai court.

Amanat: The investment firm continues to make progress in casting itself as a canny player in the healthcare and educational asset spaces. It closed 2023 with its best profit tally, of Dh155 million. Revenues topped up at Dh718 million.

"Amanat delivered record results in 2023, maintaining its strong growth trajectory," said John Ireland, acting CEO. "Revenue increased 40% year-on-year, largely driven by the impressive performance of our education platform, which benefited from record enrollments, up 18% year-on-year, as well as growth and a full year contribution from our special education needs business."