Cityscape 2013: GCC's top 25 developers

The majority of firms on the list have seen an uplift in terms of their share price performance over the past 12 months
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1 EZDAN REAL ESTATE COMPANY\t\nMarket cap: $12.5bn\n12-month share price: -14% --- The biggest real estate developer in the GCC with a market capitalisation of just short of $12.5bn. The company, which was set up by HE Sheikh Thank Bin Abdullah Bin Thani Al Thani, was initially started out as a housing developer in 1950. It later moved into commercial property and has subsequently been responsible for developing malls, towers, schools and huge housing developments in its home market. The firm has around $11bn (QR: 40.4bn) worth of assets – of which $9.3bn are investment properties, according to its most recently filed figures for the six months to June 30. During this period, profits more than doubled to $131.5m. Ezdan is also actively involved in developing Qatar’s housing stock in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup. At Cityscape Qatar in March, chairman Sheikh Dr Khaled bin Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani said that the firm will deliver 50,000 houses in the run-up to the tournament, including large numbers of units at Al Wakrah to the south of Doha. It is also currently building three towers in West Bay and a pair of new malls in Al Wakrah and Wukair, which are set to open in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
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2 EMAAR PROPERTIES\t\nMarket cap: $9.5bn \n12-month share price: 65% --- Dubai company Emaar specialises in real estate development but has diversified successfully into hospitality and retail. It is currently developing master-planned communities internationally with operations in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, India, Pakistan, Turkey, USA and Canada. The company is best-known for Downtown Dubai, the 500-acre home of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, Dubai Mall – the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination which annually attracts more than 50m visitors – and The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest. Emaar has made forays in the hospitality and leisure sector with the current portfolio encompassing The Address Hotels + Resorts, along with the group’s five star premium hotel brand, Armani Hotels & Resorts. Its shareholders include the Government of Dubai. Emaar has announced several huge new residential projects within the Downtown Dubai area over the past 12 months, as well as recently starting work on a new cultural district that is set to include an opera house and an art gallery. It has also announced a joint venture to deliver a major commercial and residential area within the huge Mohammed Bin Rashid City development planned for Dubai.
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3 JABAL OMAR DEVELOPMENT\t\nMarket cap: $7.59bn\n12-month share price: 62% --- Jabal Omar Development was set up to invest $3.2bn in projects located in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, where it is based. The company will invest the capital in residential towers – of which 10 are currently under construction. Eventually, a planned 40 towers will accommodate 160,000 pilgrims, with a prayer area for 200,000 worshippers.\nAn electronic sign board that overlooks the Central Area of the Grand Mosque in Makkah has been erected to count down the days to the development’s opening. When finished, the development will have air conditioned plazas for worshippers, open courtyards and a car park that can accommodate 10,000 vehicles.\nJust over 10% of the shares in Jabal Omar are owned by Makkah Construction & Development Co. A further 20.8% are owned by the company’s founders, and 9.8% is owned by the Kingdom’s General Organisation for Social Insurance. A $900m (SR3.4bn) contract to build the first ten towers was awarded to Nesma & Partners in 2010, while the second-phase $720m (SR2.7bn) contract was awarded to a joint venture between Drake & Scull and Arabian Contracting Co at the end of last year. It is expected that the third phase contract award will be made by the end of this year.
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4 ALDAR PROPERTIES\t\nMarket cap: $5.65bn \n12-month share pprice: 111% --- Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Properties has been involved in some of the emirate’s most prominent projects including the Formula 1 race track on Yas Island to the new World Trade Centre complex on the site of the city's old Central Market. Its property portfolio sees residential communities accounting for around half of assets, retail property representing a third, and the remainder split between commercial and hospitality. The company successfully completed its merger with Sorouh Real Estate in June, which it has said will create savings of $25m-$30m a year by removing duplicated functions. It also created a combined land bank of over 77 million m2 – of which 90% is in special investment zones. Around 37% of the shares in the merged company are owned by the Abu Dhabi Government – for whom the company has been responsible for delivering several large-scale housing projects.
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5 MAKKAH CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT COMPANY\t\nMarket cap: $2.97bn \n12-month share price: 71% --- Makkah Construction and Development Company is involved in the construction of areas around the Makkah’s Grand Mosque, and the ownership, management, development, investment, rent and purchase of properties adjacent to the site. The company was set up in 1989, and 10% of its shares are owned by the Saudi Binladin Group. Moreover, the company itself owns around 10% of the shares in Jabal Omar Development (qv) – the company responsible for delivering 40 new hotel towers near the Grand Mosque. It is also behind the 1,400-room Makkah Hilton Hotel and Makkah Hilton Towers projects, and it has built and developed a commercial centre/shopping mall plus a 20,000-person prayer hall. In its most recent financial year, it reported a 17% growth in net profits to $101m (SR379m), which it attributed to higher occupancy rates and improved revenues from the hotel projects.
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6 DAR AL-ARKAN\nMarket cap: $2.93bn \n12-month share price: 11.5% --- This Saudi company primarily focused on major projects such as roads, water, power and drainage in the first five years since its formation in 1994. It then turned its attention to residential units and expanded its activities across the kingdom, in many cases utilising land which had previously been undeveloped. After an initial public offering, which attracted widespread international attention, the company further extended its operations and is now in the market of designing, project managing and constructing master-planned residential communities. These are developed on a large scale and include public service utilities, leisure space, sporting facilities and other amenities. In recent years, it has entered into a number of strategic partnerships with other developers, but remains best known for master-planned projects in major Saudi cities like Riyadh, Jeddah and Madinah. However, in a recent interview with Arabian Business, chairman Youssef Al Shelash said that it is hoping to announce its first two overseas projects – both of which would be in Europe – by the end of the year. He also said the firm was planning more malls in Riyadh and Jeddah.
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7 MABANEE REAL ESTATE\t\nMarket cap: $2.8bn \n12-month share price: 10% --- Kuwaiti developer headed by chairman and managing director Mohammed Abdulaziz Alshaya. The company is perhaps best known for The Avenues mall project in its home market, which is a $1bn project that underwent a third-phase expansion last year. Plans for a fourth phase – to add a further 360,000m2 of leasable space including new hotels have already been presented to the Kuwait Municipality. Alshaya has also said that the company is “following up on and looking into the feasibility and competitiveness of the projects that are being proposed by the government’s technical body tasked with studying developments projects and initiatives, with the aim of contributing to Kuwait’s future development projects through B.O.T. (build, operate, transfer) projects.” In 2012, the company saw a 60% increase in net profit to $115m and it earned revenues of $185m.
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8 BARWA REAL ESTATE\t\nMarket cap: $2.67bn \n12-month share price: -16% --- Qatar’s Barwa Real Estate divides its business into five separate operations – real estate in the country and internationally, business and financial services and infrastructure. It started out in 2006 and takes its name from the Qatari term for “a reliable and trustworthy agreement or contract” and the company says it over-riding philosophy is always to live up to that promise. Since its inception, Barwa has been part of the construction boom in the country and it is currently a major part of the government’s overall infrastructure and housing development plan as set out in the Qatar National Vision 2030. Qatari Diar, a company owned by the national Qatar Investment Authority, holds a 45% share in Barwa, which is the largest listed real estate company in Qatar in terms of developments.
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9 EMAAR THE ECONOMIC CITY\t\nMarket cap: $2.65bn \n12-month share price: 26% --- Established in 2006, Emaar The Economic City (Emaar TEC) is a Saudi Arabian joint stock company managed by Emaar Properties and a number of investors from the kingdom. It is leading the planning and development of the $93bn King Abdullah Economic City project which is being built near Rabigh, around 100km north of Jeddah. It includes a port on the Red Sea, industrial zone, central business district, retail and tourist facilities, as well as residential areas. It is eventually expected to be home to 2m residents and is a major part of the programme to diversify Saudi’s largely oil-based economy.
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10 UNITED DEVELOPMENT COMPANY\t\nMarket cap: $1.97bn \n12-month share price: 16.6% --- United Development Company is a Qatari company which aims to identify and invest in long-term growth projects growth providing good shareholder value. Established in 1999, the company was listed on the Qatar Exchange in June 2003 and is best known as the developer of The Pearl resort, where it has been active in progressing a number of new projects over the past 12 months. It awarded a $218m contract to build the two 40-storey Abraj Quartier towers in March this year to a local Qatari contractor, and has just agreed a new $425m, ten-year financing deal with Qatar National Bank, which it is using to develop the remaining residential units within the Qanat Quartier on the Pearl. In total, it is planning to build 77 residential apartments in 31 different buildings at Qanat Quartier, as well as 188 townhouses, 320,000m2 of retail space in 200 units and a marina containing 200 mooring spaces. The area will be linked by 15 new bridges, including a replica of Venice’s Rialto Bridge. Home-based shareholders own 75% of UDCs total shares, while the remaining 25% are held by international investors.
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11 TAIBA HOLDING CO\t\nMarket cap: $1.66bn \n12-month share price: 68% --- Madinah-based group which has companies involved in contracting, and property development. Subsidiaries include Taiba Contracting & Maintenance (TACOMA), TAWD for Properties Management & Marketing, Al Aqeeq Real Estate, Arabian Resort Areas Company (ARAC) and holiday villa sales company Quality Horizons. Net profits dropped during the first six months of 2013 more than halved to $36.4m (SR136.6m). which the company said was due to the fact that in the prior year it had been compensated for land in Madinah on which ARAC’s Hotel Aramase Al-Madinah had been sat.
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12 KNOWLEDGE ECONOMIC CITY\t\nMarket cap: $1.32bn \n12-month share price: -5% --- Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz formally launched this $7bn (SR30bn) project in Madinah seven years ago and it is intended to position the kingdom as a major force in the world of knowledge-based industry. The initial completion date was scheduled for 2020 and the project will include residential units, an industrial park, a centre for medical science and biotechnology, an entertainment park based around the heritage of Islam, educational facilities and a retail hub based on the old souks of the city. It is expected the facility will create 20,000 new job opportunities and have a population of 150,000. In recent months, the company has announced the relocation of its headquarters to a new office building within the development and the replacement of its CEO, with Dr Marwan bin Mohammed Nur al-Din Fahmy being appointed in May to replace Tariq bin Mohammed Tiemçani. For the six months to June 30, the company recently reported widened losses to around $3m (SR11.2m), which it said was due to a fall in non-operating income, even though gross profits increased.
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13 DEYAAR DEVELOPMENT\t\nMarket cap: $1.06bn \n12-month share price: 86% --- Established in 2002, Deyaar Development is Dubai’s second-biggest publicly-traded real estate company which is active in the sale and maintenance of property in both the residential and commercial sectors. The company has built towers in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Tecom, Dubai Silicon Oasis and Dubai Marina areas of the city. It is currently most active within the Business Bay area, where last week it announced that it had begun the handover of The Burlington commercial office tower, containing 476 units. Moreover, its joint venture with Dubai Properties Group, Arady Developments, recently launched the sale of apartment units at the new 48-storey Central Park residential tower near Dubai International Financial Centre, where Arabtec has already completed around 80% of the project. The company is active in Lebanon, Turkey and the UK, and has plans to enter Saudi Arabia, Kazakhastan, Qatar and India. In the first half of the year, it grew net profit by 67% to £12.7m, up from $7.6m last year.
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14 SAUDI REAL ESTATE COMPANY\t\nMarket cap: $1.02bn \n12-month share price: 26% --- Saudi Real Estate Company (Sreco), or Al Akiaria, is involved across the whole spectrum of the property market. Its activities include purchasing, building and development of land, construction, sale and lease of residential and commercial buildings, as well as managing real estate and providing contracting services. The company was set up in the 1970s and developed one of the first malls in the Middle East – Al Akaria Mall – in 1976. It also opened the first gated compound in Saudi Arabia in the late 1970s. Saudi Real Estate has investments in several companies including: Saudia for Al Muaqeliya Commercial Center as well as Taiba Investment and Real Estate Development. Its newer projects include Al Akaria Residences, which contains 360 luxury residences in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter, and the Al Akaria Village project north of Riyadh on a 2 million m2 site. Last month, it also announced that it had signed a contract with a firm to provide a design and feasibility study for a potential project on 430,727m2 on land in the Remal area of Riyadh.
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15 UNION PROPERTIES\t\nMarket cap: $809.2m \n12-month share price: 133% --- Union Properties started as a privately-owned firm in 1987 and floated as a public limited company in 1993. Its project portfolio includes commercial, residential and leisure developments and over its years of operation the company has been involved with all the stages of evolution of the ever-changing Dubai skyline. Union is part of the Emirates Bank Group and has been involved with public institutions, multinational corporations, the business community and the private sector. The company is best known as the developer of the Limestone House and Index Tower projects at Dubai International Financial Centre, as well as its investments at Motor City in Dubailand. Last week, the company’s CEO Khaled Jasim Bin Kalban announced that it is planning to launch six new projects worth a combined $408m (AED1.5bn). These will include three new projects in Motor City, including new residential communities and a new retail scheme.
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16 ARRIYADH DEVELOPMENT\t\nMarket cap: $694m \n12-month share price: 5% --- Development company which, as the name suggests, focuses on development projects in and around Saudi Arabia’s capital. The company, which made Riyadh Province’s governor, Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz its honorary president in August, specialises in the development of public private partnership schemes where assets are built – often for the state – under a build, operate, transfer model. These include souks, markets, a car auction and both masterplanned residential and industrial estates. Profits for the first six months of 2013 saw a 27% uplift to $43.6m (SR163.7m), which the company credited to higher land sales, other revenue growth and a reduction in overheads.
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17 SALHIAH REAL ESTATE\t\nMarket cap: $606.6m \n12-month share price: -1.4% --- Kuwaiti company which was set up in 1974 by a group of prominent local businessmen, which has since grown to becoming a major player in Kuwait’s retail and leisure, hotels and office markets. Its first development was the Salhia Commercial Complex, and in its home market it has also developed the Kuwait Arraya Tower II as part of its expansion of the Arraya Commercial Centre. The firm has also spread its wings to other markets. It is an investor in the Bahrain Bay project and has three joint venture companies in the UK engaged in the redevelopment of Farnborough Town Centre in Hampshire, a major residential development in Rugby, and a mixed-use project in the centre of Birmingham – the $242m Beorma Quarter opposite the city’s striking Selfridges store. It also has investments in Germany and Oman. In 2012, the company, which is headed by chairman and MD Ghazi Fahad Alnafisi, increased profits by 15% to $29.3m (KD8.3m).
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18 THE COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE CO \nMarket cap: $567.3m\n12-month share price: 25% --- The Commercial Real Estate Co, or Al Tijaria, as it is known in its home market, has been operating since the late 1960s and is responsible for the Symphony Complex containing the Hotel Missoni, the distinctive Al Tijaria Tower in the Sharq business district and the Juman Residential Complex, where it began leasing apartments and townhouses earlier this year. The company, which is headed by chairman Abdulfatah Marafie, recently posted a 328% increase in first-half profits to $24m (KD6.8m), which it attributed to a 25% jump in income. It also recently signed a deal with United Ahli Bank for a $177m (KD50m) loan, which replaces a loan from a local bank and reduces the cost of its debt by around $1.3m a year.
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19 NATIONAL REAL ESTATE COMPANY\t\nMarket cap: $490.6m \n12-month share price: 31% --- Kuwait’s National Real Estate Company has been a real estate investment and development business since 1973 and was listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange since 1984. NREC has developed into one of the largest real estate companies in Kuwait with assets now exceeding $ 1.8bn and shareholders’ equity of over $600m. The firm, which employs over 300 people, also operates in the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Libya and has been involved in a number of social and humanitarian building projects. It is chaired by Jamil Sultan Al-Essa. It was one of many which felt the impact of the downturn in the real estate markets in the GCC, while some of its projects have been impacted by social unrest in certain markets. However, the company took action last year when it decided to dispose of some non-core assets, using the proceeds to retire some of its existing debt. Al-Essa said the impact of this was to reduce the complexity of its structure, “which ultimately contributed to the decrease in expenses and improved profitability.” It turned around a loss of $39.2m (KD11m) in 2011 to a profit of $51.9m last year.
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20 UNITED REAL ESTATE\t\nMarket cap: $432.7m \n12-month share price: 0% --- United Real Estate Company (URC) was established in 1973 in Kuwait and is involved in investments as well as renting and managing property across the country. URC is the developer of the Marina Mall and has also developed various hotels and leisure facilities. To assist in the development of young talent URC has provided internship opportunities for Kuwaitis enrolled in the Engineering and Architecture Programme of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED). This extends for 13 months – four months of soft-skill training, followed by a six-month internship abroad, and finally a three-month internship in Kuwait.
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21 FIRST DUBAI FOR REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT\t\nMarket cap: $404.7m \n12-month share price: 175% --- Despite the name, this company is listed on the Kuwait stock market and was set up to invest in both Kuwait and Dubai’s property markets. The business, which is led by chairman Abdul Aziz Al Loughani, is majority owned by fellow Kuwaiti developer Al Mazaya, which has a 63% stake. A further 14% is owned by Kuwaiti financier Global Investment House. The company has invested in a series of Dubai-based schemes – some of which have been more successful than others. It bought plots at Dubailand, which has been slow-moving but has recently shown signs of a resurgence, and was also an investor in the Dubai Waterfront project by Nakheel that was meant to be built near Jebel Ali but which never really got off the ground.\n Despite this, the improving fortunes for Dubai’s property sector have meant that it moved from a position of heavy lossmaking in 2011 to one of profit last year, recovering from a $60.3m (KD17m) deficit to declare a profit of $2.7m (KD773,607). This was largely due to a significant increase in properties it has held for trading, as well as an increase in rents. The improvement has reflected in the fortunes of its shares, which have nearly trebled in value over the past 12 months.
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22 RAK PROPERTIES \nMarket cap: $397m \n12-month share price: 103% --- RAK Properties was formed in 2005 by the government of Ras Al Khaimah with a view to developing tourism and real estate projects in the Emirate. Its initial public offering on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange was over-subscribed by 57 times. RAK Properties aims to support and promote the economic growth of its home emirate as well as assist in community development initiatives. Its main projects to date have been the Mina Al Arab and the Julfar Towers in the emirate, as well as the RAK Tower on all Reem Island in Abu Dhabi. In 2012, it increased net profits by 36% on the back of a 12% climb in sales to $162.4m.
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23 AL-THEMAR INTERNATIONAL HOLDING\t\nMarket cap: $326.6m \n12-month share price: 8% --- Investment company with interests in property both in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia that is headed by chairman and director-general Khalid Sulaiman Al-Ali. The company has expressed interests in running privately-financed projects. In 2012, it more than doubled its net profit to $.4.9m (KD1.4m). Also, in February this year it said it was in talks over selling its interest in a land plot at Qadeseya in Riyadh. It said that the sale to Saudi Real Estate Co would fetch around $52.8m (KD14.9m) – of which around $29.8m (KD8.4m) would be booked as clear profit.
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24 MAZAYA QATAR\t\nMarket cap: 326m \n12-month share price: 8% \n\nMazaya, based in Doha, is active in estate investment and development and specialises in the establishment of residential, commercial and industrial compounds, real estate studies and consulting, contracting, maintenance and brokerages and commission agencies.\n It started operations in 2008 and saw the immediate effects of the global economic downturn hit the nation’s economy, but in 2010 it signed a long-term agreement with the Qatar Foundation which included the contract to develop a national convention centre. The company is involved in developing a new mall in the Lusail district of Doha.\n It has also identified the need for affordable housing among young Qataris as they break from the tradition of staying within family homes in favour of owning their own property. In May, the company appointed Eng Hamad bin Ali Al-Hedfa as its new CEO, replacing Seraj Al Baker in a move which chairman Rashid Fahed Al Naimi said was part of efforts to support creative, young talent. “Eng. Al-Hedfa has strategic and leadership experience in managing companies and projects, and boasts extensive knowledge in the local and international real estate markets,” he said. Moreover, in January it announced that it was progressing with a project to build the Sidra Village project at Doha’s Education City, where 658 one-bed and 507 two-bed apartments are set to be built by the end of 2014. A $130m construction contract to deliver the apartments was awarded to China’s Sinohydro.
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25 ESHRAQ PROPERTIES\t\nMarket cap: $313m \n12-month share price: 287% --- Eshraq Properties is a public shareholding company which has been active across the residential, commercial and tourist markets. Currently, it is undertaking a study of real estate projects, which the company intends to launch in Abu Dhabi or in other emirates. The comapny is also engaged in searching for property investment opportunities in other Middle East countries that are witnessing a property development boom. The firm has undertaken several major projects in Abu Dhabi, including the Marina Rise tower on Reem Island and Gateway Towers – a residential, hotel and retail development on a highly prominent site at Al Maqta’a – historically, the main trade route into the emirate. Although the latter had stalled following the property crash in the UAE, Eshraq said in April this year that it was going to restart the development, after receiving offers to fund it. In Dubai, the company is involved in the development of Jumeirah Rise and last year it bought the Nuran Marina hotel at Dubai Marina from Emaar Properties.