Abu Dhabi’s Aldar creates $5.4bn real estate giant

Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, one of Aldar's flagship developments. (Supplied)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Abu Dhabi’s Aldar creates $5.4bn real estate giant

  • New unit could eventually list shares in IPO
  • Property company owns some of Abu Dhabi's top landmarks

DUBAI: Aldar Properties, the Abu Dhabi-government controlled real estate group, is to spin off its property assets into a new company that could eventually list separately on a stock exchange in an initial public (IPO) offering worth billions of dollars.
The developer — which has been responsible for some of the biggest projects in the emirates, including the F1 track on Yas Island — announced the creation of Aldar Investments, as a fully owned subsidiary that will hold property assets valued at 20 billion dirhams ($5.4 billion).
The move “is designed to drive greater operational and capital efficiencies that will unlock value for shareholders and create the foundation for a new phase of accelerated growth,” Aldar said at a launch event at Abu Dhabi Global Market (AGDM), the UAE’s capital’s financial free zone, where the new company will be based.
“The creation of Aldar Investments allows Aldar to spin off its recurring-revenue assets into a 100 percent-owned separate entity, with greater independence, focused governance and a more efficient cost structure,” the statement added.
Although the statement did not mention the possibility of an IPO, Aldar Properties chief executive Talal Al-Dhiyebi told journalists that it could consider a market listing at some stage in the future. “We are ready to monetize this business at the right time if it’s going to deliver more shareholder growth,” he said on CNBC television.
An IPO is not the only possible structure, however. One financier close to the company — who did not want to be named — said: “This is piece of financial engineering, but an honest one that creates value. It has all the features of a real estate investment trust, and that could imply long-term asset management rather than a market listing. It gives them a lot of options and is a smart way to go.”
Shares in Aldar Properties, currently listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), fell just over 2 percent on the announcement.
The new vehicle, which owns some of Abu Dhabi’s most recognized assets such as Yas Mall, The Gate Towers and over 2,400 hotel rooms near the F1 track, as well as the distinctive “coin” headquarters building, has been assigned a Baa1 rating by Moody’s ratings agency — the highest rating for a non-government corporate in the region and one notch above its parent company.
“Aldar Investments can access capital on more favorable terms, independently of Aldar, and intends to issue a new sukuk in the near term. Aldar Investments has set formal debt and dividend policies consistent with the current asset management business providing further clarity for investors,” the parent company said.
Mohamed Khalifa Al-Mubarak, chairman of Aldar Properties, called the move “another significant milestone in Aldar’s history.”
He added: “As the owner of 20 billion dirhams of prime real estate assets, Aldar Investments provides an opportunity for investors to benefit from Abu Dhabi’s AA rated economy.”
The move is also a boost for ADGM, bringing billions of dollars of assets within its jurisdiction on Al Maryah Island. Ahmed Al-Sayegh, the chairman of ADGM, said: “We are delighted that ADGM is continuing to be utilized not only as a platform for international business, but also to support our domestic businesses in their ongoing development and expansion.”
This move follows the recent Abu Dhabi Executive Council Decree, extending full onshore real estate ownership rights to Aldar Properties and its subsidiaries in Abu Dhabi.
Aldar recently announced significant joint ventures with its Dubai counterpart, Emaar, which has launched separate IPOs of its property, hotels and leisure businesses in recent years.


World oil demand, refining growth to peak in 2035 — Unipec

Updated 43 min 19 sec ago
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World oil demand, refining growth to peak in 2035 — Unipec

  • Improved energy efficiency and technological changes, including the rise of renewables, meant global oil demand growth would slow in coming years before peaking in 2035
  • The switch to cleaner fuels will boost global demand for liquefied natural gas

SINGAPORE: World oil demand will peak at 104.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in the mid-2030s, up from just below 100 million bpd currently, as new technologies gradually eat into oil use, China’s Unipec said on Monday.
Improved energy efficiency and technological changes, including the rise of renewables, meant global oil demand growth would slow in coming years before peaking in 2035, Unipec President Chen Bo told the annual Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC).
This in turn will slow growth in global oil refining capacity, which is set to hit 5.6 billion tons per year in 2035, he said.
“We believe 2018-2035 will be the last cycle of global refining capacity expansion. After 2035, it is difficult to see large-scale refining projects in construction, except for some small upgrade projects and petrochemical projects,” said Chen.
Unipec is the trading arm of Asia’s largest refiner Sinopec.
The switch to cleaner fuels will also boost global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG), particularly in the Asia Pacific, after 2025, he added.
An escalating trade war between China, the largest energy importer, and the United States has dampened the Asian nation’s demand for US crude oil and LNG.
The United States exported 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in the first half of 2018, and 56 cargoes of LNG through July, or roughly 10 percent of its total LNG exports, according to official data.
Despite the trade dispute, Chen said US crude supply was an important new source for Chinese refiners as it allowed diversification from Middle East and African crudes.
Trade war tensions between the two countries would last “for the time being, and in the future we’ll be active in this area,” he added.
Beijing has excluded US crude imports from its tariffs list so far, but most Chinese buyers are staying away from US oil as the trade war shows no signs of cooling.
Unipec resumed loading US crude in September after a two-month hiatus.
China is also under pressure from the US to reduce its Iranian oil imports as Washington aims to cut exports from OPEC’s third-largest exporter to zero to force Tehran to negotiate a nuclear treaty.
Buyers in Europe, Japan, South Korea and India have either stopped or are reducing Iranian oil imports sharply ahead of the introduction of sanctions in November.
“I expect we’ll cut a little but the volume has not been finalized,” Chen said, without giving a timeframe for the cuts.
He added that Unipec has resumed normal loadings of Saudi oil after it cut imports in May-July.
Given the current supply and demand dynamic in global markets, Chen said, crude oil prices between at $60 and $80 per barrel were normal.