Back In The USSR

putinKnight Frank’s 2014 Wealth Report shows that Dubai had the seventh biggest annual increase in the global prime luxury market. At 17.0%, it was a lot lower than the likes of the top three – Jakarta, Auckland and Bali at 37.7%, 28.8% and 22.0%. It was also classified as the 19th most expensive city for such property. Surprisingly, the report showed that a US$ 1 million outlay would purchase 146 sq mt in Dubai compared to 15 sq mt in Monaco, 20.6 sq mt in Hong Kong and 25.2 sq mt in London.

Yet another survey points to the fact that all is well on the realty front and that a bubble is unlikely. This time, Citigroup indicated that Dubai can absorb the extra annual supply of 25k properties coming  to the market although other reports have concluded that the number of new builds will be greater.

Dubai developer Damac saw its 2013 profits more than triple to US$ 642 million as revenue rose 77% to US$ 1.2 billion. With booked sales having almost quadrupled, from US$ 661 million to US$ 2.5 billion, no wonder the shareholders, who bought at the developer’s LSE December IPO, are smiling. It is expected that the company will deliver more than 5,000 units to the Dubai market in 2014.

Diamond Developers announced that the first phase – being 100 town houses – of Dubai Sustainable City will be completed by the end of this year. The US$ 300 million development, which will include 500 units, a school, community centre and a country club, will be finished by 2015. Located in Dubailand, it will also have 20k trees, a canal and a 600k sq ft solar park.

Emaar have awarded a US$ 283 million contract to Arabtec for the construction of 1,500 townhouses. The project is due for completion by Q1 2016.

Following the February Sharjah launch of the first My Community Centre, retail conglomerate, Majid Al Futtaim, has announced a similar project in the International Media Production Zone. The initial phase of the proposed 1 million sq ft shopping mall will be completed by the end of 2015. This could be the first of up to 20 such malls, to be opened by the company in Dubai over the coming years.

Last year, hotel guests in Dubai rose 10.6% to 11.0 million – a sure indicator that the emirate’s tourism sector is in rude health. The impact of the Emirates / Qantas tie up can be seen from the number of Australian guests rising 39.4% to 269k. Almost I in 8 of visitors emanated from Saudi Arabia which had a 19.9% increase to 1.35 million. Total hotel revenue was up 16.1% to US$ 5.95 billion whilst total guest nights increased from 37.5 million to 41.6 million over the year. The number of available rooms increased by 5.1% to 84.5k whilst establishments rose  2.0% to 611. Over the next three years, a further 141 hotels / hotel apartments, with 29.5k rooms, will come on stream.

With the opening of its second tower this week, the world tallest hotel, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel expanded its inventory from 804 to 1,098 rooms. By September, this will increase by a further 510.

A new entrant is expected to move into the burgeoning hospitality sector. Deyaar Developments is planning several hotel and serviced apartment projects and have reportedly allocated 1 million sq ft in Business Bay and around the 2020 Expo site for construction. The Dubai-based company currently has a portfolio of 20,400 units which generates rental earnings of US$ 177 million.

Already owning four properties in Dubai, including Carlton Tower Hotel and Four Points Sheraton, First Investor is looking at bringing in a new budget brand to the Dubai market, as well as building a new hotel on SZR.

In the wake of the success of its first auction, Nakheel will shortly hold another one for residential plots from the same locale – Jumeirah Park. It raised US$ 9.3 million last month on eight plots.

The RTA is to spend US$ 27 million on the 14km Jumeirah Corniche project which will comprise a five meter walking path, a four metre wide jogging track and rest areas. The development will spread over six beach communities.

Following acceptance, by 91% of shareholders, of a US$ 88 million offer by the Al Futtaim Group, it seems that a Kenyan car retailer will soon be a Dubai-based company. CMC Holdings is that country’s distributor for Ford, Volkswagen and Suzuki.

With 2013 revenue topping US$ 1 billion for the first time in its short 4-year history, flydubai recorded another stellar year reporting a 47% leap in profit to US$ 60.7 million. Passenger traffic surged 38% to 6.8 million, helped by the arrival of seven new aircraft, seventeen new routes and the introduction of a business class cabin during the year. At last November’s Dubai air show, the carrier ordered 75 Boeing 737 MAX 8s and 11 737-800s to add to its existing fleet of 43 aircraft.

Last month, the new Dubai Tram project started pre operation trials. Phase 1, which has cost US$ 1.09 billion and covers 10.6 km, will be finished by November whilst the tenders for phase 2 will not take place until late 2015. Covering a further 5 km, it will extend the track to the Burj Al Arab and MoE. The third phase will see the tramway reach all the way down to the end of Jumeirah Beach Road.

EFG Hermes have sold their 19% stake in Damas to Qatar’s Mannai Group which now owns 85% of the Dubai-based jeweller.

So as to refinance existing loans on more favourable terms, as well as for capex requirements, du has borrowed US$ 1.17 billion in three separate deals for US$ 720 million, US$ 300 million and US$ 150 million respectively. All three loans to the telecom provider are set at 140 basis points over the Libor rate.

The other provider, Etisalat disappointed the market even though Q4 were up 70% to US$ 395 million and this after taking provisions of US$ 278 million for losses in their operations in Indonesia and Nigeria.

As reported earlier, the Dubai Islamic Bank saw a 42.1% increase in 2013 profits to US$ 469 million. At this week’s AGM, it was decided to declare a 25% cash dividend.

In February, Nakheel paid US$ 640 million which represented more than a third of a loan that was not due for repayment until September 2015. This week, it is reported that Dubai World has made outstanding payments to creditors, totalling US$ 285 million, as part of the requirements of its US$ 25 billion debt restructuring plan.

Having so far invested in excess of US$ 1 billion in India, DP World has just started work on its US$ 200 million Mumbai cargo terminal. The Dubai government-owned already operates  five container ports in the country.

Drake & Scull’s German subsidiary, Passavant-Roediger GmBH has expanded its Indian footprint – this time for two contracts relating to water and wastewater treatment, valued at US$ 13.6 million.

Coincidentally, Drake & Scull was the last company to join the Dubai Financial Market. Five years on, it seems that Marka is set to become the latest member, as well as UAE’s first listed retailer, with a US$ 136 million IPO. The company’s founders would buy 45% of the shares whilst the balance – 275 million shares – would be offered to the public at US$ 0.27 per share.

The Dubai General Market Index opened on Sunday at 4220 points and by Thursday close had fallen back 1.2% to 4154 – but still up 23.3% on its 01 January opening of 3370. Bellwether stocks, Emaar and Arabtec, were trading at US$ 2.47 and US$ 1.29 respectively.

It can only happen in Dubai – a smart city, powered by solar power, is being planned for Emirati residents. Due for completion by 2020, the city will be home to 160k and cover an area of 14k acres. It will be fully sustainable and will be self-sufficient in all its resource requirements, including energy and transport.

Last week, Qantas came in with a US$ 211 million H1 loss and announced plans to slash staff numbers by 5k, as part of a US$ 1.8 billion cost cutting exercise. This week, the airline was hit by further bad news when the Australian government rejected its request for a US$ 2.7 billion loan facility. However, it did agree to lift the airline’s foreign ownership restrictions which will  open the gate for foreign investment.

Now the Bank of England has been dragged into the currency rigging row – along with at least ten banks. There is little doubt that this fraudulent manipulation could become a major problem and prove bigger than the Libor scandal which cost banks, including Barclays and RBS, more than US$ 6 billion in fines.

Shanghai Chaori  has reportedly defaulted on a US$ 15 million interest payment relating to a US$ 1 billion loan The solar panel maker becomes the first Chinese entity to renege on an onshore bond – and this could be a precursor of more of the same. Traditionally, the Chinese government has always manged to “save” defaulting companies but now with such bonds totalling an estimated US$ 1.5 trillion, the Chinese government has indicted that some firms will have to go under.

There is no doubt that Vladamir Putin is playing hardball over the Ukraine crisis. With an economy that is in steady decline, a fall in consumer confidence, a sinking stock market and a currency that is going down the toilet, the Russian leader has done something drastic. He is gambling that the G7 will not impose economic sanctions for his escapade into the Crimea, where Russia has a lease until 2042 on the major Crimean port of Sevastopol.

HE Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, confirmed that the UAE economy is now valued at US$ 381.5 billion, having grown by over 4% in 2013. Although the figures are impressive, he did make the point that they would have been better if the US and European economies had performed better. One thing certain is that the whole global economy – including that of Dubai – will suffer if the Ukranian problem is not sorted quickly and Putin sends his troops Back In The USSR.

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One Response to Back In The USSR

  1. osama dudin says:

    Thank you very much for the regular valuable information.
    How relaible the figures are?
    Would you share with me the sources?

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