Emaar Industries and Investments (EII) said profit surged 200 per cent to $35.4 million last year on growth in the regional construction industry, and expects an increase of up to 46 per cent in 2008.
Dubai-based EII – 40 per cent-owned by the region's biggest real estate developer by market value, Emaar Properties – saw profits rise to Dh130 million.
Chief Executive Ahmed Khayyat said he expects profit next year to be about Dh190m as the company expands overseas and mitigates rising costs in its home market. EII, which focuses on investments in small to mid-sized businesses ranging from jewellery to paints and shipping, plans to complete at least two major transactions this year worth as much as Dh500 million.
"We are looking at diversifying our geographical manufacturing base, to look at locations where there is a more competitive business environment," he said in an interview. Khayyat said the firm is in negotiations on deals in Egypt, including basic metals manufacturing, and a pharmaceutical business in North Africa. It is eyeing projects in South Africa, Qatar and Jordan and mining ventures in Indonesia and Malaysia.
EII said it had total revenue in 2007 of Dh1.1 billion, up from Dh630m in 2006. Khayyat said this may rise to Dh1.6bn next year.
"The results would have been much improved especially as towards the end of 2007 we were hit with increasing prices," he said, adding profit could have been 10 to 12 per cent higher.
Khayyat said Advanced Industries Group, which specialises in the manufacturing of furniture and interior fitouts, and Multiforms, a provider of cladding, were the biggest contributors to 2008 profit.