Emaar Malls profit up 23% but misses expectations

Analysts suggested the unit was impacted by low oil prices



Retail giant Emaar Malls posted a 23 per cent increase in profit for 2015, but missed analyst expectations.

In Q4 the unit posted a net profit of Dhs 435m up 5.5 per cent, missing a Dhs 455m Bloombergconsensus of analysts.

Profit for the full year was also 2.4 per cent lower than analyst estimates at Dhs 1.65bn.

The company posted an 11 per cent increase in full-year rents across Dubai Mall, Souq Al Bahar, Dubai Mar­ina Mall and Gold & Diamond Park to Dhs 2.99bn and occupancy stood at 96 per cent.

“The retail sector is a key contributor to Dubai’s GDP, and Emaar Malls assets mark a significant contribution to defining our city as must-visit destination for retail and leisure,” said Emaar Malls and Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Alabbar.

Visitor numbers to the company’s malls increased 9 per cent last year to 124 million. Dubai Mall accounted for 80 million of these visitors and maintained its title as the world’s most visited mall, but showed no increase in footfall.

“Profits are slightly lower than we expected and costs are slightly higher than consensus, which is something we are putting down to the effect of low oil prices and the strong dollar,” National Bank of Abu Dhabi head of fund management Saleem Khokhar told The National.

“However, in general these are still very good results and do not give us any concerns for the long term.”

The unit will add to its 6 million square feet of gross leasable area with the 1 million-square-foot expansion of Dubai Malls Fashion Avenue.

Dubai tourism numbers showed that there were 22.5 per cent fewer visitors from Russia, CIS, and Eastern Europe last year than 2014. Russians are traditionally one of Dubai’s largest luxury spenders but have been put off by the strength of the dollar and weakness of the ruble.