GULF STATES- ECONOMICS & FINANCE
Emaar malls records 7pc growth in q1
Emaar Malls, the shopping malls and retail business majority-owned by Emaar Properties, recorded an increase in net profit by 7 per cent to Dh584 million during the first quarter of 2019, compared to the net profit of Dh548 million, during the first-quarter of 2018.
Revenue for the first three months of 2019 reported a growth of 4 per cent to Dh1.075 billion ($ 293 million), compared to Q1 2018 revenue of Dh1.038 billion. The growth of Emaar Malls was underlined by the strong performance of its shopping mall assets including The Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, and the Community Retail Centres.
At its fourth Annual General Meeting, Emaar Malls approved a cash dividend of Dh1.301 billion ($354 million), equivalent to 10 per cent of share capital, for the fourth consecutive year, highlighting the company’s commitment to sustained value creation for its shareholders.
These assets maintained strong occupancy levels at 92 per cent, and robust visitor arrivals at 36 million, 3 per cent higher than 35 million visitors during Q1 2018. The visitor footfall to The Dubai Mall, which welcomed over 80 million annual visitors for the past five consecutive years, was 22 million during the first three months of this year. This was supported by the growth in tourist arrivals to Dubai and increased frequency of visit by local residents.
In a key growth initiative that underpins its omnichannel retail strategy, Emaar Malls fully acquired Namshi, the leading regional fashion e-commerce retailer. This follows the group acquiring the remaining stake of Global Fashion Group (GFG) in Namshi, in an all-cash transaction of Dh475.5 million. Namshi reported sales of Dh167 million during Q1 2019.
Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties and Board Member of Emaar Malls, said: “As a pioneer in delivering innovative retail experiences for our visitors, Emaar Malls has reported consistent growth. This year, our strategy is to draw on our superior asset mix and continuously enhance our offering through well-planned extensions of The Dubai Mall and other retail destinations. Strengthening our omnichannel retail presence, highlighted by the acquisition of Namshi, is another growth driver that enables us to meet the aspirations of the new generation of tech-savvy customers.”
Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, chief executive officer of Emaar Malls, added: “The positive performance of Emaar Malls this quarter is driven by two key strategic imperatives: the continued introduction of newness across product categories in The Dubai Mall with the launch of 12 new brands in the quarter, and the successful execution of special events and retailers activations around Dubai Shopping Festival and Chinese New Year, along with the strong customer response to our Spring Fashion campaign. Enhancing the visitors experience and driving retail sales across all Emaar Malls assets remain our top priority.”
Dubai municipality to double greenery in Dubai in 5 years
Dubai Municipality plans to substantially increase greenery across the emirate in the coming years through plantation of new trees as well as adding a big park, said a senior official.
“We are concentrating in making Dubai greener. In the next three to five years, the greenery will be more than doubled. Last year, we planted 50,000 trees in Dubai outside the parks on streets. We are trying to increase those numbers,” said Dawood Al Hajiri, director general of Dubai Municipality.
Speaking after the inauguration of Beijing Expo 2019, Al Hajri said there are several Chinese agricultural companies based in the UAE and this expo will further increase Chinese firms’ presence in Dubai and UAE.
He also revealed that Dubai Municipality is planning to set up a big park in the coming five years.
“We have not decided the location yet. It will be big park equipped with different kind of amenities. We are concentrating on making the city greener which would help improve environment and air quality of the city,” he added.
ADNOC invites bids for five major blocks
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) on Wednesday launched second bid round for five major exploration blocks with substantial oil and gas potential.
Out of five blocks that are open for bidding, three are offshore and two onshore. And bids are open for both conventional and unconventional resources.
A statement by one of the world’s leading energy and petrochemical groups said the blocks that are open for bidding are known as Offshore Block 3, Offshore Block 4, Offshore Block 5, Onshore Block 5 and Onshore Block 2, with the latter offering two separate licensing opportunities for conventional and unconventional oil and gas, respectively. In total, the five blocks comprise an area of approximately 34,000 square kilometres.
M-Station extension project opened
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance, and President of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), inaugurated the extension project of M-Station in Jebel Ali, the largest power and water desalination plant in the UAE.
With the construction of the extension, the total cost of M-Station reached Dh11.669 billion while its production capacity reached 2,885 megawatts (MW) and 140 million gallons of desalinated water per day. Built according to the highest standards of availability, reliability, efficiency and quality, the Dh1.527 billion extension project added new generating units with a capacity of 700MW.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Mattar Humaid Al Tayer, chairman of the board of directors of Dewa; Saeed Al Kindi; Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dewa; and members of the board of directors of Dewa. The event was also attended by a number of VIPs and officials from Siemens, as well as Dewa officials and the media.
“The extension to the M-Station supports the UAE’s strategy to adopt innovation and shape the future,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer. He said this project has been completed with over 20 million safe man hours without lost time injury. The project focused on capacity building and the transfer of international expertise to UAE nationals, contributing to the Emiratisation of the energy sector, he said.
“We made sure that we followed world-class standards in various stages of this project’s implementation, as well as world-class operational technologies, state-of-the-art smart solutions, and information technology systems. The extension design has a 90 per cent fuel-efficiency rate. Dietmar Siersdorfer, CEO, Siemens Middle East and UAE, said the completion of the Jebel Ali M-Station expansion marks another milestone in the long history of Siemens and Dewa as strategic partners. “It’s a testament to what we can achieve with innovation and technology to support society and economic growth in the UAE,” he said.
Before the extension, M-Station generated 2,185MW of electricity from six Siemens F-model gas turbines, each with a capacity of 255MW, six Doosan Waste-Heat Recovery Boilers for steam generation, three Alstom steam turbines with a capacity of 218MW each. The project also included construction of 16 fuel-oil storage tanks, each with a capacity of 20,000 cubic metres and totalling 320,000 cubic metres of fuel-oil storage. The station produces 140 MIGD from eight Fisia desalination units, deploying Multi-Stage Flash (MSF) distillation technology, each with a capacity of 17.5 MIGD and two dual-fuel-fired auxiliary boilers.
Sharjah motorists welcome reopening of Enoc fuel stations
Fuel retailer Enoc is planning to reopen some of its petrol stations in Northern Emirates, giving motorists an additional and more economical option to refuel their vehicles.
A sign board on two closed Enoc petrol stations reads “Coming Soon!” in Sharjah while another notice advises motorists to remove their vehicles parked at the entrance of the station. Both the fuel stations are located on Al Ittihad Road in Sharjah.
In June 2011, Enoc/Eppco had closed down more than 80 outlets in Northern Emirates and some of them were taken over by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc). In May 2012, Adnoc had taken over 74 petrol stations from Emarat in Northern Emirates.
The fuel retailer did not respond to queries sent for comments till the filing of this report.
Currently, Adnoc Distribution operates the largest number of fuel stations in the country with over 360 service stations across the country. While Enoc manages and operates 129 service stations in the UAE.
Abu Dhabi-headquartered fuel retailer offers two products to motorists to refuel vehicles – premium service which costs Dh10 and self-service whereby the motorists have to refuel their vehicles themselves. But refueling at Enoc/Eppco stations is carried out by attendants free of cost.
Motorists in Sharjah welcomed reopening of Enoc/Eppco fuel stations as it will give them more economical option to refuel their vehicles.
Samiullah Khan Akhunkhail, also a Sharjah-based resident and businessman, was elated over the Enoc’s announcement of opening its fuel stations.
Akhunkhail believes that it would provide a great relief to the motorists in the emirate of Sharjah and this would help reduce queues at petrol stations as well as generate fresh jobs.
Banks merge to create UAE’S third largest lender
The third largest banking giant in the UAE with Dh423 billion in assets came into being on Wednesday following the merger of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank.
The new round of consolidation, more than two years after the merger of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank to create the Dh671 billion First Abu Dhabi Bank, seeks to create another financial titan with increased pricing power ensuing reduced pressure on funding cost.
The merged ADCB Group, serving over one million customers, is a powerful new force in the UAE banking sector as one of the largest retail lenders, accounting for a 21 per cent market share of retail loans as at December 31, 2018.
Following the landmark transaction, the combined entity trades on Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange under the ticker of ADCB. UNB has been delisted and dissolved as a legal entity while Al Hilal Bank will remain a separate Islamic banking entity and will focus on serving retail customers through digital channels under its own brand.
Analysts said such a financial powerhouse will have increased ability to meet sizeable investment requirements.
Shares in ADCB Group, which becomes the second biggest financial institution in Abu Dhabi, began trading on Wednesday after the merger plan was announced last September.
The stock ended the day 1.8 per cent lower, underperforming the Abu Dhabi equity index, which was flat at 5,258 points.
Planning for the integration of the three banks is progressing well, with integration of operations and customer experience set to accelerate in a phased approach from the second half of 2019.
The ADCB brand will gradually replace the UNB brand, and customers will be given access to an enhanced range of products and services.
Chairman of ADCB Group, Eissa Mohamed Al Suwaidi, said the contribution each bank has made individually to the UAE’s vision of economic development has been significant.
“We can look forward to making an even greater contribution as a single banking group. We have an experienced and dedicated management team, who have a clear direction for the bank and will lead us capably towards our goal of long-term, sustainable growth. This is the beginning of a new chapter in our shared story.”
Khalifa Salem Al Mansouri, acting chief executive of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, said the enlarged ADCB Group is a public company of strategic importance to Abu Dhabi, and its operations will help to drive the economic development of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.