Emaar Properties, builder of the world’s tallest skyscraper, said on Thursday its net profit soared 221 per cent in the first quarter of 2010, boosted by revenues from its hospitality and retail business.

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa

Emaar, the Arab world’s largest listed developer, said net profit in the first quarter more than tripled to Dh760 million from Dh302 million in the first quarter of 2009, surpassing some upbeat forecasts by analysts. In a survey, analysts had forecast a net profit of Dh584.68 million for Emaar for the first quarter. The firm reported no impairments for the quarter.

Emaar’s first quarter revenue of Dh2.886 billion was 87 per cent higher than the first-quarter 2009 revenue of Dh1.54 billion, a company statement said. Revenues were “underpinned by the robust performance of the company’s hospitality and shopping mall subsidiaries during a period when the company opened the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa,” it said in the statement.

The highlight of the first quarter was the opening of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at 828 metres.

Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, said the first quarter results of the company highlight the success of its strategy to focus on project delivery and business segmentation. “If Burj Khalifa put Dubai and Emaar Properties in the global spotlight and added to our track record in project delivery, the performance of Emaar’s business segments highlighted our role as an integrated property developer adding long-term value to our stakeholders.”

Alabbar said that Emaar’s growth strategy for 2010 is to focus on the larger Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region, which is home to more than 30 per cent of the world’s population, of which some 800 million people are below the age of 25.

“Our strategy is to develop integrated lifestyle communities in these markets that meet the growing demand for affordable luxury.”

Among Emaar’s high-profile assets is Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping centre. The developer also has a joint venture with Italian fashion house Georgio Armani to develop hotels.

Emaar, 32 per cent owned by the Government of Dubai, said on January 4 at the opening of Burj Khalifa that it would focus on its international projects and that Dubai’s property prices had stabilised.

In December it cancelled a merger with the property units of indebted state-linked firm Dubai Holding.

The Indian unit of Emaar received the stock market regulator’s approval for a $70 million initial public offering, it said in March. Emaar said in April it will roll over $1.23 billion of debt maturing in 2010 into long-term project financing deals. Alabbar said India was one of Emaar’s key markets in its global expansion strategy.