February 12, 2014 / 5:31 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 2-Abu Dhabi's Aldar to refinance $2.2 bln debt as profits grow

* Q4 net profit 427 mln dirhams vs 239 mln dirhams

* Beats analyst estimate

* But shares fall on dividend disappointment

* Plans new projects in H1 2014

* Aims to refinance 7.9 bln dirhams debt in 2014 (Adds CFO comments, share price, context)

By Praveen Menon and Stanley Carvalho

DUBAI, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Aldar Properties said on Wednesday that it would look to refinance 7.9 billion dirhams ($2.2 billion) of debt maturing this year, as the Abu Dhabi developer reported a 79 percent jump in fourth-quarter net profit.

The refinancing will include a $1.25 billion bond that is to mature in May, Aldar’s chief financial officer Greg Fewer told reporters in a conference call after the announcement of the results.

Aldar, which built Abu Dhabi’s Formula One race track, is recovering from a collapse in the emirate’s property market that forced the company to take government support worth $10 billion in exchange for some of its assets.

The majority state-owned developer acquired rival Sorouh Real Estate last year, forming Abu Dhabi’s largest property firm with assets in excess of $12 billion.

The developer now plans to spend 4.5 billion dirhams to complete existing projects and also announce new developments this year.

“We have ample liquidity - we are not left wanting for capital to invest in this,” said Fewer.

Aldar had 13.7 billion dirhams of debt outstanding at the end of 2013, of which 7.9 billion dirhams would be refinanced in 2014.

“You could see us (doing) normal refinancing - banks or bonds - because of our strong credit ratings. We will also manage debts with government receivables, existing cash and liquidity already procured,” Fewer said, adding that Aldar now had cash holdings of 8.3 billion dirhams.

The company made a profit of 427 million dirhams in the final quarter of 2013, compared to 239 million dirhams in the corresponding period of 2012. The result beat estimates by analysts at Naeem Holding who had forecast a fourth-quarter profit of 354 million dirhams.

However, Aldar shares dropped 2.0 percent on Wednesday morning, apparently because of disappointment with its proposal for a 7 percent cash dividend; investors had been hoping for more. A year earlier, its dividend was 6 percent.

MORE DELIVERIES

Abu Dhabi’s real estate market slumped by about 50 percent from its peak in 2008 after the global financial crisis triggered a crash. But prices rebounded strongly last year, rising some 25 percent, on the back of a series of market-boosting measures by the government including the scrapping of annual rent caps.

“We are in a strong delivery phase right now. About 5,000 Aldar-owned units are being delivered into the Abu Dhabi market right now and that will contribute to revenues in the next four quarters,” said Fewer.

Revenue in the past quarter was also driven by the handover of key projects, including 199 units delivered at the Gate Towers in Abu Dhabi, and state projects.

Aldar’s full-year profit was 2.25 billion dirhams compared to 1.3 billion dirhams in 2012, largely driven by a one-off gain of 2.6 billion dirhams booked in the second quarter from the acquisition of Sorouh. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams) (Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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