Pearl-Qatar firm posts $1bn profit for 2011

United Development Company sees net profit rocket six-fold compared to previous year
Pearl-Qatar firm posts $1bn profit for 2011
The Pearl-Qatar island is a popular expatriate and tourist spot
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 28 Jan 2012 03:02 PM

The developer behind Qatar's flagship Pearl project has posted net profit of more than $1bn for 2011, more than six times the 2010 figure.

United Development Company (UDC), which said its president and managing director Khalil Sholy would resign earlier this month, reported a net profit of QR3.772bn ($1.03bn) for last year compared with QR617m for 2010.

Total assets increased to QR19.056bn, compared to QR10.878bn as of the end of 2010, it said in a statement.

UDC chairman Hussein Al Fardan said the company's strong performance was due to the "continued success to Qatar's solid economic position in the region".

"We are fortunate to be operating in a highly visionary and rapidly developing country. This backdrop presents multiple opportunities for continuing diversified business for UDC," he said.

Sholy, who has agreed to stay on for three months while a replacement is found, said: "We have witnessed in 2011 the opening of almost 50 new businesses at The Pearl-Qatar... in addition to the increasing number of residents that has exceeded 4,000."

The profits announcement comes just weeks after Arabian Business revealed restaurants and bars on the Pearl development have seen revenues slump by more than 50 percent in the wake of a new ruling banning the sale of alcohol to customers.

Outlets on the island development off Doha they were told on December 12 they could no longer serve alcohol to guests in what is seen as a display of tension between Qatar’s Muslim culture and its largely expatriate population.

Managers of restaurants located on the popular tourist spot said they had received no explanation for the ban or any indication on whether it might be lifted in the future.

UDC announced at the end of December that it was in talks with a state pension fund about a strategic investment worth QR160m ($44m).

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