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2017 Construction Week Power 100: Top 10 developers

The following article contains details of the 10 highest-ranking developers on Construction Week’s 2017 Power 100

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The following article contains details of the 10 highest-ranking developers on Construction Week’s 2017 Power 100...

1. Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties (Power 100 ranking: 9)

Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of UAE-headquartered Emaar Properties and the highest-ranking developer on Construction Week’s 2017 Power 100, sits at the helm of a vast real estate empire in both its domestic Dubai market and beyond.

Earlier this month, the firm announced plans to list its UAE real estate development business through an equity offering of up to 30% on Dubai Financial Market (DFM) – a move that saw the DFM General Index register a three-month high of 3,406 points.

Emaar Properties reported a net profit of $377m (AED1.4bn) in Q1 2017, an increase of 15% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. Commenting on the results, Alabbar said: “We have seen an increase in property sales in Dubai, and we are on track with our construction milestones.”

Emaar’s current flagship project, The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour, has also witnessed significant progress during the past year. Since the development’s ground-breaking ceremony in October 2016, more than 145 barrette piles have been laid, and they are now being trimmed in preparation for the laying of a 19m-thick pile cap.

2. Ali Rashid Lootah, Chairman, Nakheel Properties (Power 100 ranking: 16)

Driven by chairman Ali Rashid Lootah, Nakheel Properties has had a positive start to the year, with $403m (AED1.48bn) in net profits for the first quarter of 2017.

Q1 2017 saw Nakheel awarding construction contracts worth $1.36bn (AED5bn), signing agreements with two Thai hotel operators, and announcing an investment of $40.84m (AED150m) to create a network of cycle routes across Dubai, state news agency, Dubai Media Office (DMO), reported.

The developer will award a new set of contracts worth $1.09bn (AED4bn) in Q2 2017, as it continues to expand its retail, hospitality, and residential leasing businesses, DMO’s report added.

Remarking on the financials, Lootah said: “Our first quarter results are as forecast. We continue to execute our long-term business plan, in turn contributing positively to Dubai’s real estate sector.”

3. Talal Al Dhiyebi, CDO, Aldar Properties (Power 100 ranking: 17)

The first quarter of 2017 has been a happy one for Talal Al Dhiyebi, chief development officer (CDO) at Aldar Properties. This May, the company announced a 39% increase in gross profit – to $205m (AED753m) – compared to $147.5m (AED542m) in Q1 2016. Aldar’s revenue rose 28% to $430m (AED1.58bn), driven by developments under construction.

In June, Aldar confirmed that the construction of its residential and hospitality projects on Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island was progressing as planned.

Aldar’s Vida Hotels and Resorts project, part of its hospitality portfolio, will comprise a 262-key hotel and 192 serviced apartments. The hospitality facilities will be accompanied by 329 marina residences within the Reem Island development.

Construction works for the Vida development are due to commence this year, and will complete in 2020.

4. Hussain Sajwani, founder and chairman, Damac Properties (Power 100 ranking: 22)

The first quarter of 2017 was a productive one for Damac Properties, with the company reporting that its booked sales hit $600m (AED2.2bn), reflecting an 11% increase over Q1 2016 figures and a 29% increase over Q4 2016.

“We generated revenues of $530m (AED1.9bn), with a gross profit of $288m (AED1.1bn) at a 54% gross profit margin,” said Hussain Sajwani, founder and chairman of Damac Properties. “We recorded a net profit of $240m (AED880m) at a margin of 45%. Our total equity was up 7%, to $3.7bn (AED13.5bn).”

Q1 2017 also saw the UAE-headquartered developer, founded by Sajwani in 2002, deliver 550 units in Damac Hills, a number that Damac said represented 20% of the company’s full-year guidance of 2,800 units.

Other than Damac Hills, the developer has 13 in-progress projects, including Damac Towers by Paramount, Tower 108, and Paramount Tower Hotel & Residences Dubai, as well as Akoya Oxygen, its second master development, and Aykon City. The latter, which is located on Sheikh Zayed Road and overlooks Dubai Canal, is a six-tower development.

Damac also has eight projects in Dubai that are in the planning stages. They include Central Square, Madison Residences II, Cultural Village, and Plots 1 and 2 of Jumeirah Village.

According to the company, its development portfolio consists of more than 44,000 units at various stages of progress and planning, comprising more than 13,000 hotel rooms, serviced apartments, and hotel villas, which will be managed by its hospitality arm, Damac Hotels & Resorts.

Speaking about the opportunities that exist in the market for Damac, Sajwani said: “We aim to build a stable recurring income stream over medium term, which could comprise residential and retail space in our master developments, and a pool of residential units that could be put under a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for generating rental income, as well as income from hospitality division and commercial leasing.”

He added: “We continue to look for opportunities to replenish our land bank, in Dubai mainly.”

5. Talal Moafaq Al Gaddah, CEO, MAG Property Development (Power 100 ranking: 29)

The property arm of MAG Group, MAG Property Development (MAG PD), has high expectations for fiscal year 2017.

Talal Moafaq Al Gaddah’s UAE-based firm is expecting its revenues for the year to hit the $544.5m (AED2bn) mark by 31 December – more than double its performance in 2016, which stood at $136.1m (AED500m).

This optimistic outlook is backed by the several projects MAG PD currently has in development, including MAG 5 Boulevard in Dubai South; MAG 230, which is adjacent to IMG World of Adventure; MAG 318 in Business Bay; MBL Residences in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT); MAG of Life Creek Resort in Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC); and Meydan District 7.

Singling out its Meydan project as the one that promises the biggest opportunities for the company, Al Gaddah commented: “A huge opportunity is our development of 4,000 units and 1,000 townhouses in Meydan – an area that is growing in popularity thanks to its proximity to key destinations, landmarks, and attractions, including City Of Arabia, Business Bay, Downtown Dubai, Dubai Healthcare City, and the Meydan racecourse.”

Al Gaddah, chief executive officer of MAG PD, also noted that the company, which considers the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait as its most important markets in the region, is working towards developing projects that meet the requirements of both the mid-range and high-end sectors.

To strengthen its presence in the Middle East, MAG provides in-house training for its 2,000 employees, Al Gaddah said, adding that the company also undertakes corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in the areas of education, development, and philanthropy.

6. PNC Menon, founder and chairman, Sobha Group (Power 100 ranking: 32)

Originally from Kerala, India, PNC Menon has been operating in the Middle East market since 1976, the year he relocated to Oman. After establishing a name for himself in the Omani market and in the neighbouring GCC states, he founded Sobha India in 1995 and, in 2003, expanded its footprint to Dubai, where the company is now headquartered.

At present, Sobha keeps its team of 306 full-time employees busy with its flagship project, Sobha Hartland, and its joint venture with Meydan Group, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District One, both in Dubai.

The former is a mixed-use luxury development comprising villas, row houses, apartments, schools, hotels, retail outlets, and entertainment facilities. The latter, meanwhile, is a luxury villa community that consists of 1,500 villas.

“With each passing day, my conviction and inspiration towards the future potential of Dubai only increases – primarily due to the vision, dedication, and world-class execution of the country’s leadership,” said Menon.

7. Abdulla Lahej, CEO, Dubai Properties (Power 100 ranking: 36)

As chief executive officer of Dubai Properties, Abdulla Lahej has enjoyed a fruitful 12 months. During the past year, the UAE-headquartered real estate developer has launched a string of projects, including Bellevue Tower 2, and Phases 1 and 2 of VillaNova. Lahej’s team has also achieved a series of construction-related milestones during this period, including the commencement of work on Marasi Business Bay’s marina. Located on Dubai Water Canal, the $272m (AED1bn) Marasi Business Bay megaproject will feature water homes and floating restaurants, among other amenities, upon completion. In 2016, Lahej and his colleagues successfully handed over more than 3,000 units.

8. Yousef Bin Abdullah Al-Shelash, chairman, Dar Al-Arkan (Power 100 ranking: 38)

The first half of 2017 has been an eventful one for Yousef Bin Abdullah Al-Shelash. As the chairman of Dal Al-Arkan, the largest listed real estate company on the Saudi stock market, he oversaw the appointment of the company’s new chief executive officer, Damac Properties’ former managing director, Ziad El Chaar.

In addition to welcoming a new chief, the developer launched the sale of residential villas at its Parisiana Living project in Riyadh. According to the company, the project is inspired by the Parisian lifestyle, which promotes walkability, cultural communication, and interaction in public places”.

“The launch of Parisiana Living villas comes in line with Dar Al-Arkan’s approach to providing the kingdom’s real estate market with high-quality, ready-made housing units,” Al-Shelash said.

9. Ahmad Khalaf Al Marri, general manager, Union Properties (Power 100 ranking: 45)

As general manager of Union Properties, Ahmad Khalaf Al Marri oversees the implementation of the company’s various training programmes for the group’s more than 7,000 employees. These training programmes cover areas like fire and safety, leadership and management skills, and first aid, among others.

Projects-wise, Union Properties is expecting its Oia Residence development to complete by the end of this year, with handover scheduled to commence in March 2018. The company also has two new projects in the pipeline. Both, noted Al Marri, are mixed-use developments located in Dubai Motor City and currently in the design phase.

He added that the first development will be spread over 7,221m2, with a retail area of approximately 1,115m2. It will feature 275 residential units. Meanwhile, the second development will span around 51,097m2, with a retail area of approximately 13,729m2, and will feature 400 residential units.

10. Rahail Aslam, group CEO, Select Group (Power 100 ranking: 53)

As the group chief executive officer of Select Group, Rahail Aslam is responsible for 527 full-time employees working for the company, of whom 12 are qualified engineers.

A developer based in the UAE, Select Group recorded $190.6m (AED700m) in revenues in fiscal year 2016, a figure that the company is looking to more than double. According to the group, it is expecting its revenue for 2017 to hit $760m (AED2.8bn).

Citing Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah as its two most important markets in the region, Select Group has several projects in development in both emirates, including Jumeirah Living Marina Gate, which is a partnership between Jumeirah Group and Select Group.

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