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Wed 7 Nov 2007 11:31 AM

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Aldar to turn profit abroad by 2009

UAE property developer expects its foreign operations to start making money in two years, CEO says.

UAE's Aldar Properties, which is working on more than $65 billion worth of development projects, expects its foreign operations to start making money in 2009, Chief Executive Ronald Barrott said on Tuesday.

Aldar, the second-largest UAE real estate company by market value, has projects in Malaysia, Kazakhstan and North Africa. All of these will start to generate revenue in four years, with Malaysia making returns in 18 months, Barrott said.

Aldar is the master development manager for part of a $1.2 billion project in a Malaysia's Iskandar development zone, the first big foreign investment in an ambitious government plan to transform the country's south.

Aldar's joint venture with Sorouh Real Estate, known as Al Maabar, is investing $2 billion in a commercial and residential project in Kazakhstan. Al Maabar is also investing in North Africa, with a $5.5 billion project planned in Tunisia.

"Aldar has the development programme in excess of $65 billion, housing 400,000 people," he told the FT Gulf Property Investment Conference in Dubai.

That includes a $40 billion residential and leisure project Aldar is developing on an island outside Abu Dhabi city.

Aldar's third-quarter profit jumped 74%, spurred by gains in the value of land holdings. Every quarter, Aldar values a portion of land at market rates and includes that in its income statement.

Most of Aldar's land bank was given to it virtually free by the Abu Dhabi government, which is investing record oil revenue in construction projects.

Barrott declined to give a profit forecast.

Aldar said earlier on Tuesday it would develop 30 hotels in Abu Dhabi. They would be completed in 5-8 years and would include boutique and conference hotels, Barrott said, declining to say how much they would cost. (Reuters)