Aldar Properties has reported revenue of AED 1.76 billion in the first quarter of 2020, which is unchanged from the same period a year ago, demonstrating the fundamental strength of its diversified Development Management and Asset Management businesses.
From the onset of the global Covid-19 health crisis, Aldar’s has prioritised safeguarding the health and wellbeing of its employees, customers, contractors and communities. Adhering to UAE health authorities’ regulations and guidance, the Company swiftly implemented strict hygiene and sanitation measures across all its assets.
Furthermore, in line with Abu Dhabi’s wide-ranging initiatives to alleviate the economic impact of Covid-19, Aldar rolled out in March support programmes worth up to AED 190 million to assist tenants, homebuyers, students and business partners. These include introducing rental and school fee payment plans and support for SMEs.
During the first quarter, Aldar’s Development Management business made significant progress across its projects and reported development revenue of AED 808 million, a 13% year-on-year increase, driven by progress on recently awarded development management government projects valued at AED 5 billion, including the new twofour54 campus on Yas Island.
Development sales totalled AED 333 million, led by inventory sales. This meant that, as of end of Q1 2020, 83% had been sold across its development pipeline. Aldar has leveraged its digital transformation programme to facilitate sales amid government-mandated or recommended guidelines including social-distancing and curfew and has introduced virtual tours for all available units. Moreover, the Company has deployed its market leadership position to partner with Abu Dhabi banks to provide attractive financing packages for homebuyers, complementing government and UAE Central Bank incentives to support the real estate sector.
The Asset Management business has displayed resilience, with a particularly solid performance in the first two months of the quarter. In Q1 2020, occupancy remained steady at 89% across the Investment Properties portfolio, which includes retail, residential and commercial assets, due to long-term, committed lease contracts and a high-quality, diversified portfolio.
The adjacent businesses segment, which includes Aldar Education, property management firm Provis, facilities management company Khidmah and Aldar’s district cooling assets on Saadiyat Island, continued to contribute positively to Aldar’s financial performance during the period. Their combined gross profit increased 40% to AED 52 million.
As travel restrictions and temporary mall closures took effect in the end of February, the Covid-19 situation mainly affected Aldar’s hospitality and retail assets. However, the diversified asset management portfolio delivered a net operating income (NOI) of AED 404 million in Q1 2020. Select retail assets, including Yas Mall and Al Jimi Mall, reopened in May and are implementing strict social distancing measures.
While Covid-19 will impact the operating environment in 2020, Aldar benefits from a robust balance sheet, with debt maintained well within its established debt policies across the development and asset management businesses.