MAF enjoys double-digit sales growth

Developer reports strong results ahead of major investment programme

NEWS, Business

Majid Al Futtaim Holding - the company which recently announced plans to spend up to $800m expanding its Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre and a number of other major investments, has reported a 10% year-on-year growth in revenues for the first six months of 2013.

The company said that sales had grown to AED: 11.3bn ($3.08bn) during the period while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 11% to AED: 1.6bn ($435m).

During the period, the firm opened its 12th mall at Beirut City Centre and it bought the minority share owned by French retailer Carrefour in its regional supermarkets business. It also renewed its franchise deal with Carrefour until 2025 and opened two new hypermarkets and four new supermarkets in the region.

The company's CEO, Iyad Malas, said: "First half 2013 displayed another period of strong growth for us and even more importantly it happened on the back of a strong first half 2012.

He added that in the UAE, its tenants witnessed a 10% year-on-year sales growth and Carrefour stores grew revenues by 7%. The average occupancy rate of its hotels portfolio also reached 88%.

The company added that its balance sheet remained strong with total assets of AED: 39bn ($10.6bn) and net debt of AED: 8.6bn ($2.3bn).

Its investment grade rating of BBB was reaffirmed by Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings, which the company said was "the highest credit rating assigned to any privately-held corporate in the Middle East".

The company's recently-announced expansion plans include a $250m upgrade of Mall of The Emirates that will include a new see 50,000m2, $27.2m fashion district set to open by the end of the year. Two new luxury hotels will also be built next to Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre, while the existing Kempinski and Pullman Deira City Centre properties will also be upgraded.

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