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Aldar currently manages gov't projects worth AED 5bn - Interview

Aldar currently manages gov't projects worth AED 5bn - Interview
CEO of Aldar Properties, Talal Al Dhiyebi.
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Abu Dhabi – Mubasher: ADX-listed Aldar Properties expected its newly-signed contracts with the Abu Dhabi government to generate additional income and strong cash flows over the coming years.

In an interview with Mubasher, CEO of Aldar Properties, Talal Al Dhiyebi, said the company is currently managing significant state-owned projects worth up to AED 5 billion.

These projects include the twoFour54 community in Yas Island, Al Falah project, a master-planned community developed for UAE nationals, as well as infrastructure works in Saadiyat Island.

Recently, the real estate developer penned a deal with the Abu Dhabi government to take over the management of projects valued at more than AED 30 billion. The projects include the Riyadh City project, the Baniyas North project, and other projects in Al Ain and Al Dhafra regions, the CEO revealed.

He further predicted the projects’ management transfer process to complete before the end of the year.

Expanding the business scope of Aldar to manage developmental projects affiliated to third parties is an integral part of the firm's comprehensive growth strategy that aims at enhancing the diversification of business, Al Dhiyebi noted.

Moreover, he said the agreement inked with state-backed Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADQ) reflects the Abu Dhabi government’s efforts in supporting the real estate sector in the emirate as well as partnership initiatives between the public and private sectors. Also, it is a positive sign on the market and reiterates the government’s commitment to its key projects.

Noya Project 

Speaking on Noya, Al Dhiyebi said the AED 940 million Noya residential project has achieved sales of AED 1 billion to raise the real estate developer’s total sales for this year to over AED 3 billion.

The master-planned project includes an investment zone on Yas Island; hence all of its units are available for purchase on a freehold basis by all nationalities. Emirati nationals have bought 60% of the project’s units whilst other nationalities secured the remaining 40%, he continued. 

Buyers, aged below 45 years old, accounted for 50%, whilst those aged less than 30 years old secured 20%, marking the highest youth turnout rate for such kind of projects, Al Dhiyebi noted, adding that female buyers represented 25%, which is also a high rate.

Construction works for Noya are set to begin in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021, with properties’ delivery beginning in Q2 of 2023.

Corornivurs Effects 

When asked about the effects of the coronavirus on Aldar’s business, the CEO emphasised that the company’s diversified and sustainable business model helped enhance its profitability despite the prevailing challenges.

Lending further support to the company’s stable position was reliance on strong pillars across all business sectors, coupled with societal approaches that supported the company’s performance.

These include continuous strong demand for high-quality residential properties in several key sites in Abu Dhabi, backed by good liquidity levels in the banking sector, low interest rates, and growth-stimulating government initiatives.

On “Ghadan 21” programme and other COVID-19 anticipatory financial support procedures, Al Dhiyebi said these factors helped make the pandemic impact on the group’s financial position relatively moderate.

On the highly affected assets, he mentioned hospitality and shopping destinations assets due to travel restrictions and partial closure of malls last March.

Despite this, the company maintained stable occupation levels in residential units and office spaces and recorded strong performance in project management in Q3-20.

Supporting Clients and Partners  

Aldar Properties launched an AED 190 million programme to support residential communities, schools, retail partners, and home buyers.

In addition, it rolled out a series of initiatives targeting retail partners amounting to more than AED 90 million, with a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups to help them continue operating amidst the ongoing unprecedented circumstances.

Furthermore, it committed to allocate AED 4 billion to pay its dues to contractors, advisers, and suppliers within the agreed-upon schedules in 2020.

What About After The Pandemic?

The CEO denied any plans by Aldar to exit from any of its projects, pointing to the businesses’ flexibility and diversity as well as their ability to face the pandemic-related challenges.

He evidenced this by the company generating 7% higher annual sales from developmental projects to AED 1.2 billion during the quarter ended in September 2020.

The company currently continues to evaluate promising capital investment opportunities that increase its investment portfolio revenue, enhance its competitive position, and help diversify its net operating income (NOI).

In addition, it focuses on utilising the capital in good growth opportunities and carrying out strategic investments in key international markets, Al Dhiyebi concluded.

(Contributed by: Enas Bahgat - Translated by: Amal A. Wahaab)