Emaar affiliate's 2008 profit up 46%


Emaar Industries and Investments (EII), an affiliate of the region's biggest real-estate developer by market value, said profit surged 200 per cent to $35.4 million last year on growth in the construction industry and the integration of new companies into its portfolio.  Dubai-based EII -- 40 per cent-owned by Emaar Properties  -- saw profits rise to Dh130 million.

Chief Executive Ahmed Khayyat said he expects to see a 46 per cent rise in profit next year to about Dh190 million as the company expands overseas.

EII, which focuses on investments in small to medium 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 told Reuters 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 also eyeing projects in South Africa, Qatar and Jordan as well as mining ventures in Indonesia and Malaysia.

"You cannot ignore these markets," he said.

EII said it had total revenue in 2007 of Dh1.1 billion, up from Dh630 million in 2006. Khayyat said revenues may increase to Dh1.6 billion next year.

"The results would have been much improved, especially as towards the end of 2007 we were hit with increasing prices," he said, saying profit could have been 10 to 12 per cent higher.