November 7, 2012 / 4:44 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Abu Dhabi's Sorouh Q3 profit up; merger talks ongoing

* Q3 consolidated net profit 129.2 mln dirhams

* Quarterly revenue 803.4 mln dirhams, down 9.8 pct

* Merger talks with Aldar at advanced stage

DUBAI, Nov 7(Reuters) - Abu Dhabi’s Sorouh Real Estate reported a 54.5 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Wednesday and said no decision has been taken so far about its proposed merger with rival Aldar Properties.

The second largest developer by market value in Abu Dhabi said it had net consolidated profit of 129.2 million dirhams ($35.2 million), up from 83.6 million dirhams in the prior-year period, it said in a statement on Abu Dhabi’s bourse.

Income was boosted after Sorouh reversed 40 million dirhams in contingency provisions for its Sun and Sky towers, which have been completed.

Revenue for the quarter dropped to 803.4 million dirhams from 890.4 million dirhams, down 9.8 percent.

The developer said its results were buoyed by revenue from national housing projects - government-awarded schemes to build homes for UAE citizens - which rose to 607 million dirhams from 68 million dirhams.

Sorouh said merger talks with rival Aldar, which were first announced in March, are at an advanced stage.

“A decision will be taken by the Company’s board of directors as to whether or not to recommend the merger to the company’s shareholders in due course,” the statement said.

The two firms had earlier said a decision would be reached by last June.

Discussions between the two firms come as Abu Dhabi’s property market continues to face challenges as a huge supply of high-end homes comes on the market this year. Property prices in the emirate are expected to fall another 5 percent in 2012, a Reuters poll in May showed.

Cash-rich Abu Dhabi, which is conducting a strategic review of its state-linked entities, has spent more than $10 billion on Aldar itself in the last two years as the emirate’s property market was hit by oversupply and falling prices, compounded by a similar collapse in neighbouring Dubai.

Shares of Sorouh have climbed 57.7 percent this year buoyed by the merger discussions with Aldar. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams) (Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Amran Abocar)

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