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Fri 29 Aug 2008 04:57 PM

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Damas reveals major expansion plan

Eighty new outlets by end of 2008 as jewellery retailer announces H1 profits up by 132%.

Damas International, the Dubai-based jewellery retailer, announced on Friday it plans to open 80 new stores, including 50 in the UAE alone, by the end of 2008.The company plans to use 40 percent of the $230 million it raised in a public shares sale in July for expansion and further acquisitions.

And it plans to increase output capacity by 50 percent at a gold factory it owns jointly with Emaar Industries and Investments by the end of 2009.

The announcements came as company chiefs revealed a 132 percent jump in net profit for the first half of 2008.

The results were the first since the company's successful listing on the Dubai Financial Exchange in July.

Net profits rose from $19 million in the first half of 2007 to $44 million in the same period this year.

The group’s revenue for the period grew by 33.7 percent to $653 million in spite of high gold prices.

Tawhid Abdullah, chief executive officer and managing director, Damas, said: "This is our first set of results as a public company and I am delighted to report that we have seen strong growth across the business.

"This was driven by solid like for like sales, increased market share and strong operational efficiencies. We have launched a range of exciting products and brands including our 'Damas Cut' diamond which has had excellent reviews and is already seeing very positive consumer interest.”

During the first half of 2008, Damas opened 42 new stores, including 11 in the UAE and another 14 in the Gulf region, to bring the company's total number of shops to 467.

Abdullah added: "Market conditions in our core markets remain good and we are confident that we will be able to deliver a strong performance for the remainder of this year and into 2009."

PK Dutta, chief financial officer, added:“We are proud to report these results which surpassed expectations and are excited about the potential to strengthen our position further in the current year as we sustain momentum and continue to grow our presence in established and new markets.

"Damas is well placed to look at opportunities and make selective acquisitions to accelerate its expansion while concentrating on maximising shareholder value.

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