Dubai's Emaar Properties shrugged off a weakening local market to report a 17 percent increase in first-quarter net profit on Sunday as sales rose and its hospitality and retail units also prospered.
The developer, in which Dubai's government owns a minority stake, made a net profit of 1.21 billion dirhams ($330 million) in the three months to March 31, it said in a statement. That compares with a profit of 1.03 billion dirhams in the year-earlier period.
SICO Bahrain forecast Emaar's first-quarter profit would be 1.22 billion dirhams.
Emaar's chairman this month said he had been "really scared" of market conditions coming into 2016, but these fears may have been allayed by a 70 percent rise the value of Emaar's first-quarter property sales to 4.19 billion dirhams.
That increase was achieved despite the emirate's property prices in steady decline from a 2014 peak and with industry experts forecasting further drops this year.
Emaar's property unit generated 1.97 billion dirhams in first-quarter revenue, up 32 percent on a year ago. The company does not book immediately book property sales as revenue; it is steadily included in line with construction.
Emaar Malls, majority-owned by Emaar, last week reported a 22 percent rise in first-quarter net profit to 529 million dirhams.
Its hospitality, commercial leasing and entertainment unit, which includes its hotel assets, generated quarterly revenue of 722 million dirhams, Emaar said. It did not provide a year earlier figure, but said its Address-branded hotels achieved 93 percent occupancy. This figure excludes Address Downtown hotel, which was ravaged by fire on New Year's Eve.
An Emaar executive last week said this hotel would not re-open this year, while the company in its 2016 earnings took a 301 million dirham writedown relating to the blaze.
Emaar's first-quarter revenue was 3.53 billion dirhams, also up 17 percent from a year earlier.For all the latest real estate news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.