Real Estate Saudi next on radar as Aldar builds on Mena expansion By Sarah Townsend May 3, 2023 Reuters Aldar Properties' HQ is in Abu Dhabi but it is aiming to extend its reach, with new interest in Saudi Arabia UAE real estate firm views kingdom as opportunity Considering ‘all asset classes’ and looking at major cities Net profit grew 22% in Q1 2023 while revenue rose 14% Real estate developer Aldar Properties is scouting for development and joint venture opportunities in Saudi Arabia to help it expand in the region. Based in the UAE, Aldar has projects in Egypt in addition to its core operations in Abu Dhabi and, more recently, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, following announcements in the past six months. But it wants to tap the Gulf’s largest market, with a focus on major cities such as Riyadh and Jeddah. Abu Dhabi financial free zone set for office space boost Aldar forecasts $5.4bn by 2028 from Dubai partnership Aldar garners $272m from sale of phase one of sustainable city “One market we continue to be focused on is Saudi Arabia,” Aldar’s acting chief finance and sustainability officer, Faisal Falaknaz, told media in a video call on Wednesday. “We are continuously business developing, being on the ground in Saudi, and exploring how we can make an entry to Saudi that fits well with our strategy.” Aldar would consider investing in “all asset classes, development, recurring income”, he said. “We are exploring the major cities, and obviously every market is different in terms of how you make an entry there,” he added. “With Egypt, we didn’t make an entry by ourselves, we went into a platform. “Likewise [with Saudi], we are talking to partners, screening opportunities, looking at assets and operating businesses. We have a healthy pipeline to explore but nothing to detail [yet].” Aldar made its debut in Egypt in 2021, when it completed the majority stake purchase of one of the country’s biggest real estate developers, Sodic, in a joint venture with Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ. On Wednesday Aldar reported a 22 percent year-on-year rise in net profit for the first quarter of 2023 to AED836 million ($227 million) and a 14 percent revenue increase to AED3.1 billion. The performance was driven by rising recurring income from its retail, office and hospitality investment properties, and record quarterly development sales of AED4.5 billion, helped by rising demand from overseas and resident expat buyers in the UAE. Aldar recorded its record development revenue backlog of AED18.8 billion, “providing revenue visibility over the next two to three years”, the company added in a statement. Falaknaz added that Aldar has a “healthy” liquidity position with AED6.1 billion of free cash and AED4.4 billion of undrawn loan facilities, and, should it wish to raise further funds, its stable outlook reaffirmed by rating agency Moody’s in April puts it in a strong position.