(Clarifies spending is capital expenditure in first paragraph)
By Stanley Carvalho
ABU DHABI,May 14 (Reuters) - Aldar Properties, the largest property developer in Abu Dhabi, plans capital expenditure of 2.75 billion dirhams ($749 million) in 2019, its chief financial officer said after the company reported a 17.3% drop in first-quarter profit.
The state-linked builder of Abu Dhabi’s Formula One circuit made a net profit attributable to owners of 553 million dirhams in the three months to March 31, it said on Tuesday. That compared with a net profit attributable to owners of 669.5 million dirhams in the same period a year earlier.
SICO estimated a first-quarter profit of 546.61 million dirhams for Aldar, while EFG Hermes’ estimate was for 600 million dirhams. The lower net profit was partly dented by impairments and writedowns that almost doubled. Revenue totalled 1.77 billion dirhams in first quarter compared with 1.5 billion dirhams a year earlier. Aldar’s spending in 2019 is earmarked for residential and some commercial projects, said Chief Financial Officer Greg Fewer on a media call. The company has spent approximately 550 million dirhams in the first quarter, he said. Despite a weak property market in Abu Dhabi, Aldar expects full-year sales of 4 billion dirhams, with first-quarter actual sales totalling 1 billion dirhams. “We are keeping our 4 billion dirhams guidance ... reflecting our pipeline of projects, our customers and land bank,” he said. The bullish view is also due to the recent freehold law passed by Abu Dhabi allowing foreigners to own land. “It opens a multitude of new buyers and will have a positive impact on sales,” Fewer said. (Reporting by Stanley Carvalho, editing by Louise Heavens)