Developer of Burj Dubai blames US recession for 10% slip in 2008 revenue

The largest developer in the Middle East, Emaar, made a loss of 1.76bn dirhams ($480m) during the final quarter of last year.

The developer said its overall profit for 2008 was 15% lower than the previous year. Operating profit for last year was 5.6bn dirhams, down from 6.57bn dirhams in 2007. Revenue slipped by 10%, down to 16bn dirhams, from 17.9bn dirhams in 2007.

It blamed its foray into the US market for the fourth quarter results. Emaar’s largest investment in the US was in American housebuilder John Laing Homes.

The developer said in a statement: “Emaar is concentrating on completing all the projects that have commenced construction and have put new projects or launches on hold to assist in reducing the real estate property supply in Dubai.” It added that any new projects in 2009 would depend on “the demand and supply situation”.

Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, said: “The primary focus of Emaar in the last quarter of 2008 was to mitigate the negative impact of the global financial crisis by facing up to the new economic realities and identifying innovative strategies to sustain businesses in an unprecedented downturn. We have placed emphasis on optimising resource use efficiency and maximising productivity, and will continue to build on our strategy of business segmentation and geographic expansion.”

Emmar’s projects include the Burj Dubai, which is the world’s tallest tower, and the Mall of Dubai.