Banks, property firms still most profitable in UAE

Analysis of the results of the 87 firms that have announced their Q3 financials so far reveals 20 of the Top 25 most profitable listed companies in the country. (FILE)

Financial services firms, including banks, insurance and investment companies, and real estate/construction companies are among the most profitable companies in the UAE, dominating the list of the Top 25 profitable entities in the country.

An Emirates 24|7 analysis of the results of the 87 firms that have announced their Q3 financials so far reveals 20 of the Top 25 most profitable listed companies in the country belong to the two sectors that have been the most impacted by the global economic slowdown.

This website analysed 101 listed companied on the Abu Dhabi (60 firms) and Dubai (41 firms) bourses and found that net profits at the 87 firms that have so far announced third-quarter results are down 15.55 per cent.

Combined nine-month net profits at the UAE’s listed firms amount to over Dh24.5 billion compared with the Dh29.02b that the same companies recorded during the first nine months of 2009.

However, as the famous proverb goes, what statistics reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.

Although profits are down year-on-year, some of the most profitable companies in the country belong to sectors that have been the most impacted by the global economic slowdown, viz. real estate and financial services.

According to our analysis, 20 of the Top 25 most profitable listed companies in the country belong to either of these two sectors.

Eight of the Top 10 most profitable companies are banks, highlighting the fact that although high impairment charges for bad loans have taken a toll on their profit-levels, banks remain money-making machines. Of the Top 25, as many as 16 are banks, insurance firms or investment companies, underlining the fact that when it comes to the bottom line, it’s money that still makes money.

With a neat Dh2.95b in net profits for the first nine months of 2010 (up 14 per cent from the same period in 2009), National Bank of Abu Dhabi is the most profitable bank in the country, followed by First Gulf Bank (9-month profits: Dh2.56b; up 4 per cent on 2009), Emirates NBD (Dh1.93b; down 39%), Union National Bank (Dh1.18b; up 26%), and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (Dh964m; up 30%), respectively.

Moreover, despite the grinding halt witnessed in property transactions in the country, four firms in the Top 25 belong to the real estate and construction sector.

Emaar Properties is the leading profit-maker among real estate firms, raking in a neat Dh2.17b for the first nine months of 2010, handsomely reversing a net loss of Dh393m that the company announced for the same period last year. Sectorally, Emaar is followed by Arabtec Holding, which announced a Dh252.43m profit for the period, down more than 50 per cent from the Dh511.72m in net profits that it announced during the same period of last year.

Profits also tumbled more than 52 per cent year-on-year at the Sorouh Real Estate (2010 nine-month profits: Dh220m) and over 10 per cent at RAK Properties (Dh163.8m) but they still made it to the coveted ranking of the Top 25 most profitable in the UAE.

Despite an 18 per cent decline in net profits, however, Etisalat retained the honours of being the most profitable firm in the country, with net profits amounting to Dh5.6b during the first nine months of 2010, compared with Dh6.8b during the same period last year.

Its sole competitor, Du, barged into the Top 15 with a 149 per cent surge in nine-month profits to Dh398m during the period.

Top 25 Most Profitable UAE Listed Firms

    Company                          Profit Sep 10    Profit Sep 09   % change
                                                 (Dh '000)         (Dh '000)
1     Etisalat                              5,605,751       6,846,634      -18.12
2     NBAD                                 2,951,399       2,590,957      13.91
3     First Gulf Bank                 2,555,255       2,455,530      4.06
4     Emaar Properties           2,174,000        -392,802       NA
5     Emirates NBD                 1,933,014        3,164,235     -38.91
6     UNB                                 1,176,206        931,609        26.26
7     ADIB                                 964,000           742,200        29.88
8     DIB                                   771,364           1,120,941     -31.19
9     CBD                                 770,612           756,961        1.80
10   RAKBANK                        729,838           530,658        37.53
11   Dubai Investments        687,575           822,350        -16.39
12   Taqa                               676,000           266,000        154.14
13   Mashreq                          647,385           1,119,482     -42.17
14   Du                                   397,577           159,564        149.16
15   Bank of Sharjah             389,136           383,381        1.50
16   Natl Marine Dredging   352,977           237,727        48.48
17   NBQ                               303,293           327,564        -7.41
18   Arabtec Holding             252,427           511,717        -50.67
19   InvestBank                    236,214           226,957        4.08
20   Sorouh Real Estate      219,889           460,999        -52.30
21   RAK Ceramic                217,645           216,878        0.35
22   United Arab Bank          216,320           204,241        5.91
23   Sharjah Islamic Bank   191,582           227,620        -15.83
24   Oman Insurance          169,416           176,984        -4.28
25   RAK Properties            163,756           181,494        -9.77

Source: DFM, ADX, company financial statements and

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