Egyptian real estate firms' profit hit by coronavirus crisis

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s five biggest listed real estate firms reported a combined profit fall of nearly 31% in the second quarter of 2020 as property sales slowed during the coronavirus crisis.

But the sector could recover by the end of 2020 or during next year if Egypt can avoid a second wave of COVID-19 infections, three sector analysts told Reuters.

“The coronavirus has led to a slowdown in initial sales and delayed deliveries, which affected real estate developers further” Nemat Choucri, head of equity research and the real-estate sector team at HC Brokerage, said.

Talaat Mostafa TMGH.CA, Palm Hills Developments PHDC.CA, Sixth Of October Development and Investment (SODIC), Emaar Misr for Development EMFD.CA and Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development MNHD.CA fell to a combined profit of 1.018 billion Egyptian pounds ($65 million) in the second quarter from 1.47 billion pounds a year earlier, company results showed.

Emaar Misr was the only company whose second quarter profit increased, gaining nearly 13% to 365.7 million pounds.

Revenue of the five firms for the period were 4.795 billion pounds, down by 18.5% year-on-year, the data showed.

“Sales in Egypt declined by 30-40% in the first half of the year due to the impact of the coronavirus and customers’ fears of buying,” said Tarek Shoukry, head of the Real Estate Development Chamber at the Federation of Egyptian Industries.

SODIC OCDI.CA, Egypt's third biggest enlisted real estate company, was the most affected as its profit fell around 77% to 40 million pounds in second quarter, after dropping nearly 83% in the first quarter.

($1 = 15.7600 Egyptian pounds)

Additional reporting by Ahmed Ismali; Writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Patrick Werr and Alexander Smith