Stock - Aldar (Saadiyat Lagoons)
The 'Saadiyat Lagoons' represent the latest launch from Aldar, which has kept up a steady pace with offplan projects in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: There is no holding back Aldar Properties, which has just delivered its ninth consecutive quarter of ‘record-breaking’ sales. In the year to September, the Abu Dhabi master-developer’s overall sales is at Dh9.3 billion – and that’s Dh2 billion over the whole of 2021.

This meant Aldar’s nine-month net profit came to Dh2.13 billion, which is 38 per cent on top of last year same time. It was carved out of revenues of Dh8.07 billion, which is higher by 28 per cent y-o-y.

The group’s development backlog stands at Dh14.5 billion by end-September, while the revenue backlog works out to a robust Dh9.06 billion, which is up 55 per cent year-on-year. (In the third quarter alone, revenues were at Dh2.71 billion and which led to profits of Dh601 million.)

Aldar has clearly been served well by the series of high-visibility launches it has had at Yas and Saadiyat islands. Plus, there have been the acquisitions of built-up assets in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah. Plus, there is the SODIC acquisition Aldar made in Egypt in tandem with ADQ. Now, SODIC has made its intent to buy another Egyptian developer, Orascom Real Estate. To date, SODIC has contributed Dh924 million in revenue and Dh199 million in EBITDA to Aldar's numbers. (Aldar-ADQ own just over 85 per cent in SODIC.)

Cash to buy - Dh5b of it

Expect a lot more of that, with Aldar confirming Dh5 billion in surplus capital bring 'allocated to fund equity contributions towards acquisitions over the next 9-12 months'. (Aldar has suggested potential interest in GEMS, the Dubai-based operator of schools and which could be up for sale.)

A strong finish to 2022
"With a busy Q4-22 events calendar and tourist season now in play, Aldar sees a strong and buoyant real estate market with positive sentiment continuing well into 2023 as Abu Dhabi continues to position itself as a premier investment destination and world-renowned location to live, work and visit," according to the developer.

“Having demonstrated strength and agility through various economic cycles, Aldar continues to accelerate its sustainable growth in a bullish UAE market, while creating long-term value for its shareholders," said Talal Al Dhiyebi, CEO. "As such, we are intent on maintaining our pace of investment activity in the region, backed by our strong liquidity position and driven by our transformational growth strategy.

"We will also continue to activate our extensive land bank to sustain our elevated level of development sales, in line with the growth of offplan sales to international and expatriate buyers as Abu Dhabi’s position as a global investment destination matures.”

Aldar’s gunning for more buys

Aldar’s not losing its appetite for more deals – if anything, the Abu Dhabi developer is gunning for more. And in the coming weeks itself.

The company is planning to close out a ‘credible set of acquisitions’ this quarter or early 2023. And it’s got the ammo – Dh5 billion – to make things happen. One such could be the Egyptian developer Orascom, for which the Aldar-ADQ owned SODIC is doing due diligence on.

On whether a potential deal would also extend to Dubai school operator GEMS, Greg Fewer, Aldar’s Chief Financial and Sustainability Officer, said: “We will update immediately as and when there is something to report. What we will not do is comment on speculative reports.

“Our managed education business has grown from 8,000 students to 33,000 through our own schools, those we bought and it remains an incredibly valuable business. We will continue to invest in this.”

On the Orascom possibility, Fewer had this to say: “There’s a long runway of growth to be achieved in Egypt. Even with SODIC, there is more than enough room on that side of Cairo to grow (if the Orascom deal happens). We would get more synergies.”

This year has already seen Aldar pick up a few eye-popping deals, notably the Dh3 billion plus one for four office towers at Abu Dhabi Global Market. There was also the resort buys in Ras Al Khaimah and of the Nurai Island in Abu Dhabi. Adaar has also drawn down the $1.4 billion from the deal with global asset management firm Apollo.