Alabbar urges calm on share price slump

Emaar chairman Mohammed Alabbar has launched a staunch defence of the company’s share price, following recent plunges at the Dubai Financial Market.

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By  Anil Bhoyrul in Damascus Published  June 18, 2006

Emaar chairman Mohammed Alabbar has launched a staunch defence of the company’s share price, following recent plunges at the Dubai Financial Market. Speaking at the Second Syrian-Emirati Economic Forum in Damascus last week, Alabbar moved to assuage investors’ concerns over Emaar’s market value. “The share price is a very controversial issue,” Alabbar said. “We do not need to tackle the price issue over one day. It should be done over one year.” In the past year, Emaar’s shares have lost over 40% of their value, although most of the falls have come during the last two months. Nevertheless, the company remains hugely profitable. In January this year, it announced a 180% rise in profits to US$1.29 billion for the year 2005. Alabbar said: “You know that the markets go through phases. There are always going to be many changes in the price. But the real question is what have our results been like over eight years? These are the best you will find. “The share price is not a concern to us,” he continued. “It is determined by the dynamics of the market. We are now focused very strongly on our work and are moving forward.” In the past year the UAE stock market index has fallen by over 30% - repeating the pattern seen across the Gulf markets since the turn of the year. The Emaar boss told his audience: “The whole market of the Emirates has seen a correction. This has been seen in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait. It has been seen everywhere. I do not want people to focus on whether the price is increasing or decreasing. Either way, the serious investor can be confident that Emaar is a strong institution.” Alabbar held meetings with senior Syrian business leaders and politicians during his visit, discussing ways to promote growth in the country. Following a number of financial reforms and an economic development programme, Syria has seen its growth rate rise to 4.5% in the past year, with a peak of 5.5% in the non-oil sector. Emaar is one of a number of UAE companies planning to invest more in the country, where private investment has rocketed by 25% in just 12 months. Non-oil exports in Syria last year totaled US$3.6 billion. Alabbar said: “I would like to think, and indeed am confident, that Syria can be a real success story. Success by nature is a very exciting story. It is what everyone aspires to have. And I really think that the investment climate in Syria is currently very good.”

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