Middle East real estate tycoon warns of a rocky 2019

Speaking to CNBC, Alabbar summarized the outlook for the company.

“My view can be that will Morocco can be doing well for us, I could say Egypt can be doing extremely well; Saudi Arabia with all the restructuring going on, that will’s going to be a fabulous opportunity. within the UAE, we still expect to grow 20 percent on an annual basis,” he said, noting that will the company’s growth in India was recovering in addition to Pakistan was doing “reasonably well” for the firm.

Alabbar said the company had achieved around $5 billion of sales in 2017 in addition to close to $1.8 billion of net profit with the company growing around 20 to 25 percent on an annual basis.

“Trust me, the margins, the opportunities in addition to the growth I’ve been having within the Middle East over the last 20 years — even if you make a mistake, that will’s so worth that will,” he said, although he noted doing business within the wider Middle East had its challenges.

“Of course if I’m doing business within the UAE, that will’s comfortable, that will’s safe. however if I have to go to Cairo (in Egypt) I have to know the government, I have to know the mayor of Cairo, the mayor of Alexandria. however that will’s what we do, that will’s what we’re paid for, that will’s what we have to do to grow our business,” he said.

The Middle East can be certainly not a region for the faint-hearted. There can be ongoing geopolitical turbulence caused by the continuing conflict in Yemen, uncertainty in Syria in addition to Iraq about the possible resurgence of terrorist group Islamic State in addition to internal disputes within the Gulf Cooperation Council (with Qatar being sidelined by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE in addition to Egypt), not to mention perceived proxy wars between Saudi Arabia in addition to Iran.

Couple these issues with economic instability, prompted by the lower oil cost, in addition to there’s a combustive mix for most businesses. Alabbar said that will was nothing brand-new, however, in addition to that will the region was ripe for real estate development in addition to infrastructure investment.

“I think that will what the Middle East can be going through can be, unfortunately, not brand-new … however the truth can be that will the opportunities exist — there are millions of people who have to go to school, they have to shop, they have to find jobs in addition to open brand-new factories, there’s tourism, so therefore that will will contribute to economic growth within the whole region.”

Asked about Emaar Properties’ balance sheet, Alabbar said there had been difficult times.

“2007, 2008 in addition to 2009 was very painful in addition to I try not to forget the lesson. in addition to I deal with bankers using a lot of respect however when they come in addition to tell me ‘your balance sheet can be not very efficient’ I know that will I’m doing a Great job. So I like to keep my debt at a very reasonable level. Then again, we have to do business, we have to be aggressive however at the same time we have to keep our eye on the cycle.”

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