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Sun 22 Apr 2012 04:46 PM

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No financial help needed from Abu Dhabi - Aldar

Builder of Yas Marina F1 circuit was previously forced to sell key assets to gov't

No financial help needed from Abu Dhabi - Aldar

Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties is committed to repaying all its debt and does not need more financial support from the government of Abu Dhabi, the company's deputy CEO told reporters on Sunday.

"We won't need more [financial] help, we are comfortable on the financing side," Mohammed Al Mubarak said on the sidelines of a property conference.

"We are committed to all our debts and they will be paid, we are in a healthy financial position," he added.

Aldar's US$1.25bn 10.75 percent bond, maturing 2014 was bid at 109.5 on Saturday, according to Thomson Reuters data, to yield 5.847 percent, about 23 basis points tighter since beginning of the month.

The builder of the Yas Marina Formula One circuit, which was forced to sell key projects to the government including the Ferrari World Theme Park, is generating income from the lease of "many residential and retail projects", Al Mubarak said.

"Our model has to be to build more projects," he added.

Aldar, which has been bailed out twice by the Abu Dhabi government with rescue packages totaling over US$10bn, last week secured a AED4bn (US$1.09bn) credit facility from National Bank of Abu Dhabi, a deal expected to help the developer manage its liquidity needs.

State-owned investment fund Mubadala, which holds a near-majority position in Aldar said last month that it transferred a 14 percent stake in the developer to secure a loan facility from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

Shares of Aldar were up 2.8 percent at AED1.12 at 0837 GMT.

Aldar, which is in talks for a possible merger with rival Sorouh Real Estate, is considering tapping the low income housing market in the emirate.

"One aspect untapped is low income housing and there is also demand for mid income housing. We are studying several options there," Al Mubarak said.

"Abu Dhabi market is growing - on that front it has to be managed, this could be either through consolidation or other means," he said.

The state-backed tie-up between Aldar and Sorouh to create a company worth some US$15bn in assets comes as prices slide in the emirate's real estate sector, which has not recovered from the downturn seen after the 2008 global financial crisis. Property firms have been forced to cancel projects and restructure their huge pile of debt.

Sorouh, which has assets of AED14.1bn, has fared better than its bigger rival, supported by a focus on existing project completion and delivery.

While Dubai's real estate crisis came as a shock to global markets, the Abu Dhabi reckoning has been a more gradual and incremental process as real-estate values continue to slide in the emirate.

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