Abu Dhabi developer fails to meet forecasts, blaming the performance on the UAE’s weak property market

Abu Dhabi developer Aldar Properties posted a £55m loss for the first quarter of the year in results that were worse than analysts’ forecasts. Aldar reported a net loss of 314.2 m dirhams (£55m) compared with profit of 888.6m dirhams in the same quarter in 2009, which it blamed on the UAE’s weak property market. Analysts had forecast average net profit of 332 million dirhams for the first quarter of 2010.

Turnover in the first quarter was 227m dirhams, down from 496.6m dirhams a year-ago. Aldar said in a statement: “The 54.3% decrease was mainly due to lack of property sales.”

Aldar has slowed down the pace of development of its flagship project, the £13bn Al Raha Beach scheme, which amounts to building a city for 120,000 people on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi’s city centre. The developer has a joint venture with Laing O’Rourke and although both sides deny it has been terminated, it is widely thought to have been reduced in scope.

Ahmed Al Sayegh, chair of Aldar Properties, said: “Conditions are challenging but we were encouraged by the range of new projects recently announced, including a major infrastructure project for Al Ain Municipality, and remain fully committed to our mandate of playing its part in the Plan Abu Dhabi 2030.”

In March, Aldar agreed a deal with Masdar to take over the developer’s role on a delayed Foster + Partners scheme within the $22bn Abu Dhabi project to build the world’s most sustainable city.