Stock Noya Aldar
The Noya from Aldar was the Abu Dhabi developer's standout moment of 2020, when the first set of homes were sold out in four hours. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Even as it says future growth will be “rooted” in Abu Dhabi, Aldar Properties is keeping an eye open on likely opportunities in Egypt. The North African market - where it has set up a new subsidiary - has been rated as a priority as and when the master-developer looks to the outside, according to a top official.

Aldar’s got the cash to make it happen, boosted by pulling in Dh1 billion from asset disposals towards late last year. This included the Abu Dhabi Golf Complex as well as the district cooling unit on Saadiyat Island (to Tabreed).

“We can access the[ financial] markets at any time – but we are not in immediate need for new funding,” said Greg Fewer, Chief Financial Officer. “We are particularly interested in Egypt, where we see an abundance of opportunity to grow.”

As to when this will take shape, Fewer did not dwell. As for the status of its alliance with Emaar, which was announced in 2018, Fewer said both felt now was the time to “focus on their own backyards” in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in their individual capacities.

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Home base

In Abu Dhabi, Aldar finds itself on solid ground, delivering gross profits of Dh3 billion for 2020. The full-year net profit came to Dh1.83 billion, boosted by the 28 per cent gain in the final three months of last year.

And it’s taking its working arrangements with Abu Dhabi Government entities deeper – it’s midway on Dh5 billion worth of projects on the government’s behalf, including works at Saadiyat island, the media hub twofour54, and for housing projects. Some of this is reflected in the 2020 preliminary financials, which the company announced on Sunday.

Government-related projects will see Aldar deliver Dh50 billion worth of them in the next “three to five years”, said Fewer. This follows a deal that was announced late January, and which propelled Aldar shares to some record gains.

"We are laying the foundations for the next phase of growth - a transformational growth against the backdrop of an improving UAE economy," said Fewer.

Dh1.14billion

What Aldar has recommended as cash distribution for 2020. "Dividend payments in 2020 and 2021 consistent despite macro-economic challenges presented by COVID-19," the developer said in a statement