Biggest Abu Dhabi developer is shopping for large property deals
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Biggest Abu Dhabi developer is shopping for large property deals

Biggest Abu Dhabi developer is shopping for large property deals

The company, armed with $1.85bn in capital, has the resources to make purchases both in its home market and around the UAE

Aldar Properties has built up a cash war chest and is “actively” considering investments in large real estate portfolios as Abu Dhabi’s biggest developer seeks to grow its management business, a senior executive said.

The company, armed with Dhs6.8bn ($1.85bn) in capital, has the resources to make purchases both in its home market and around the UAE, chief financial officer Greg Fewer said on a conference call Wednesday.

With holdings spanning retail, commercial, residential and school properties, “those are the sectors where we see very interesting acquisition opportunities within Abu Dhabi and the UAE to scale all those different segments,” Fewer said, without naming a likely target.

Aldar, which primarily operates in Abu Dhabi, has been chasing growth in a cramped market. At home, the company is growing its management business after acquiring Asteco Property Management last year. Beyond the UAE, it’s also looking to gain a foothold in Egypt through a proposed acquisition of a majority stake in a developer known as Sodic.

“We’ve got a rich pipeline of opportunities across all the areas that we’re focused on – UAE real estate, Egyptian opportunities as well as Saudi opportunities,” Fewer said. The company is targeting real estate portfolios that are for the most part either owned by large families or zoned near government entities, he said.

Pecking order
With the UAE property market on the upswing, Aldar is vying for the status of the most valuable listed developer in the country with Dubai’s Emaar Properties. Both are currently worth about $9.2bn.

Aldar sees “great acquisition” opportunities within retail, commercial, logistics and residential assets, the CFO said.

In September, it submitted a $453m offer for a stake of up to 90 per cent in Egypt’s Sixth of October for Development & Investment Co., or Sodic. Fewer said the proposal is pending the regulator’s approval, with a response expected within “days or weeks.”

Aldar is meanwhile planning a significant drive to boost the efficiency of the buildings it operates in Abu Dhabi. It’s conducted a study that will aim to upgrade some energy-consuming systems with newer and more efficient technology, the CFO said.

The company is focusing on cooling, heat pumps, lights and other building-management systems, he said, without elaborating on the cost or timeline of that plan.

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