Dubai-Based Developer Emaar Plans $1.4Bn Asset Sale as UAE Property Market Slumps

JUL 22, 2018: Dubai-based developer Emaar is to hoping to raise $1.4bn from sale of assets to counteract the effects of a property slump in the emirate, according to reports in the UK’s Financial Times.

The company, which is 30% owned by the government of Dubai, is looking to sell its portfolio of hotels, clinics and schools.

Emaar has hired Standard Chartered bank for the sale process and is close to a deal with several parties.

Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of the company, briefed journalists that he is close to agreeing a sale for much of the property.

Dubai’s property market has registered a gentle decline throughout the year. Sales and rental prices have been declining in most segments amid sluggish economic conditions and muted demand in the wake of a three-year period of low oil prices.

The latest figures, from agent Cavendish Maxwell, in its second quarter Dubai Market Report, registered quarter-on-quarter declines of 1.1% in residential sales prices and an average 2.5% drop in rental values. The fall in residential rents was 5% year-on-year.

According to the report, annual rental declines in Dubai in the second quarter were most pronounced in International City, The Greens, Discovery Gardens and Al Furjan, which registered 12-month changes of more than 6%.

In response to the sluggish property market, Emaar’s share price has halved since its September 2014 peak, is down about 20% over the course of 2018.

Emaar has responded by seeking ways to cut costs. In March, it entered into an $8.2bn strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi’s biggest property developer Aldar, and the pair intend to create efficiencies through jointly building projects such as Saadiyat Grove in Abu Dhabi, and Emaar Beachfront in Dubai.

The company is looking to raise about $700m by selling most of its hotels, and a similar amount from its healthcare and educational facilities.

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