Issue No 264 - 09 April 2008
  Emaar profit likely to hit $492m in Q1

Profit at Dubai-based developer Emaar Properties probably accelerated to 1.81 billion dirhams ($492.9 million) in the first quarter on sales of its Burj Dubai project, according to a survey of analysts.

Net income in the three months to March 31 may have risen 5.2 percent compared with the year-earlier period, when profit was 1.72 billion dirhams, according to the average forecast of analysts in a Reuters survey of three analysts.

"It's the Burj Dubai project being recognized, generating sales," said Mohammed Kamal, who researches Emaar for Deutsche Bank. He expects profit at the largest Arab real estate company by market value to surge 15.1 percent.

In the fourth quarter, Emaar beat the average of analysts' forecasts posting a 1.3 percent increase in profit. Profit fell in the second quarter. "Margins were higher," Kamal said of the last three months.

Two-bedroom apartments in the Burj Dubai tower, the world's tallest building and part of a $20 billion residential and commercial project Emaar is building close to the centre of Dubai, start at 12.64 million dirhams, according to its Web site.

In the fourth quarter, profit rose after construction costs declined as the Burj Dubai project neared completion. The tower will cost about $900 million and is due to open this year, though Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar said last month construction was four months behind schedule.

Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes last month kept its short-term "accumulate" and long-term "buy" recommendations for Emaar stocks, citing a rise in the company's net asset value.

It gave the shares a long-term fair value of 18.50 dirhams, compared with Monday's closing of 10.95 dirhams.

The stock has fallen 26.5 percent this year, compared with 9.8 percent for the Dubai index.

Source: Trade Arabia News

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