Daily Archives: August 10, 2012

Emirates ID announces 3rd winner of Ramadan weekly competition

Abu Dhabi: A Dubai resident has won the weekly cultural contest of the holy month of Ramadan of Emirates Identity Authority. Anna Monica Betas, won an iPad3, which is given out by the Emirates ID on a weekly basis, after her name was drawn randomly at the Emirates ID headquarters in Abu Dhabi today.

There were a total of 1500 participants who gave the right answer to the question “What is the name of pearl merchant in the Gulf?” His answer was “Al Twash”.

The Emirates ID poses a question in Arabic and English on its website and on its pages on Facebook and Twitter as part of its cultural contest launched weekly during the month of Ramadan.

The Emirates ID has encouraged visitors of its website to participate in its new weekly cultural contest and choose the right answer to the question, “What is ALESAMAH?” to be considered for next week’s raffle and get the opportunity to win an iPad3.

ADFD organizes lectures to celebrate Holy month of Ramadan

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has organized series of lectures and seminars to celebrate the Holy month of Ramadan in coordination with the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE).

The initiative was aimed at boosting and enhancing internal communication between the Fund and its employees in various occasions.

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, ADFD Acting Director-General highlighted fund’s keenness to celebrate the holy month by offering a number of lectures contributing to the definition of the teachings of religion and Islamic culture of tolerance.

Aldar reports financial results for second quarter of 2012

Abu Dabi: Aldar Properties PJSC (“the Company”), Abu Dhabi’s leading property development investment and management company, is pleased to announce today strong financial results for the second quarter of 2012 with revenue for the period increasing 497% to AED 4,631.2 million (Q2 2011: AED 775.7 million) and net profit of AED 417.9 million up 228% from AED 127.3 million during the same period last year. Revenues were driven by the successful handover of 1,058 residential units on Al Raha Beach units. Aldar’s delivery programme will continue into the second half of the year with a focus on delivery and handover of the remaining units and land plots at Al Raha Beach.

The Company ended the period with a strong cash and liquidity position. At the end of the period, cash balances were AED 2,459.6 million and AED 3.2 billion of available liquidity from the credit facility with National Bank of Abu Dhabi, providing the Company with ample working capital and liquidity to deliver on its business plan.

Aldar’s ongoing programme of debt reduction continued during the quarter with repayments totaling AED 4.3 billion, including the early retirement of AED 1.9 billion term loan. This brings total borrowings down to AED 14,358 million (December 2011 AED 18,295 million) at the end of the period.

Aldar benefits from highly predictable and stable ongoing cash flows with AED 12 billion cash still to be received from the three main asset sale agreements signed with the Government of Abu Dhabi between 2009 and 2011. The Government asset sale agreements also provide a source of stable earnings, including AED 3.6 billion of revenue still to be recognized relating to serviced land sales at Al Raha Beach. These contracted sales provide the foundation for Aldar’s strong ongoing revenue and cash flow visibility over the coming quarters.

Development revenues for the quarter were AED 4.2 billion, up from AED 400 million in Q2 2011 based on strong deliveries of units.

During the second quarter, Aldar handed over 1,058 residential units to customers at Al Raha Beach, including the Government of Abu Dhabi. A further 680 units have been sold and await completion and hand over. Aldar’s remaining inventory for sale consists of 391 units principally at Al Raha Beach and Reem Island.

Al Bateen Park is on-schedule and is 97% pre-sold. The development at Al Ward, the precinct of Al Raha Gardens is now fully pre-sold. Both are scheduled for delivery in Q4 2012.

At Yas Mall, Aldar’s 233,000 sqm flagship retail development on Yas Island, considerable progress has been made on construction with the installation of underground utilities in progress and the ground level floor slabs underway. The project remains on schedule for delivery in Q4 2013 and pre-leasing is at 60%.

The Village Retail development for the residents of Al Falah is on schedule for completion in Q4 2012 and joins other community retail facilities owned by Aldar, such as Gardens Plaza in Al Raha Gardens and the Al Raha Beach amenities.

The leasing programme on the newly delivered Al Noor building at Al Raha Beach is well under way.

Infrastructure works, including canal excavations, roads and interchange works at Al Raha Beach are nearing completion on schedule and expected to be completed over the next 12 months.

Development projects managed on behalf of third parties generated project management fees of AED 46 million in the second quarter. These include revenues relating to a number of substantial and prestigious developments including the National Housing development at Al Falah, Cleveland Clinic, Yas Waterworld, World Trade Center Abu Dhabi and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

Recurring revenues from investment properties and operating businesses, increased 12% to AED 338.6 million in the second quarter (Q2 2011 AED 302.6 million). Aldar’s commercial office portfolio is substantially let and further growth is expected from retail and community retail projects including Ace Hardware on Yas Island, the community retail facilities at Al Raha Beach and Motorworld showrooms. In addition to its for-sale inventory, Aldar has allocated 378 residential units at Al Raha Beach to form a new leasing portfolio during Q2. Of these, 191 are leased, including 155 units to Aldar Academies.

The majority of Aldar’s 174,000 sqm of high-quality commercial offices is fully let and occupied on a long-term basis by Government-entities and commercial tenants. 60% of the HQ building is now leased or under heads of terms and there is a robust pipeline of tenant enquiries.

We are delighted to announce the addition of 118 used car showrooms at Motorworld and an ACE Hardware to our retail portfolio during the quarter, both of which will add to our recurring revenue base.

The community retail portfolio at Al Raha Beach is 53% leased. This joins Gardens Plaza at Al Raha Gardens, which opened in 2011 and is fully let and operational.

As part of its strategy to enhance and optimise recurring revenues from its residential portfolio, Aldar allocated 378 units at Al Raha Beach to form a new leasing portfolio during Q2, which complements Aldar’s sales and rent-to-own residential offers. We were also pleased to announce 155 units leased to Aldar Academies under this programme.

Aldar’s hotel portfolio performed well during Q2 despite a competitive market. Average occupancy for the quarter was 58% compared to 59% for the same period in 2011 (H1 2012 62% v H1 2011 61%) against a soft market. We look forward to continued growth as the addition of Yas Waterworld and Yas Mall will drive increased footfall to Yas Island and occupancy levels at our hotels.

There was strong performance by Aldar Academies during the quarter reflecting the increase in enrolment from the three new schools that opened in September 2011. Revenues were AED 66.4 million during the first half of the year, up from AED 49.8 million in the same period last year.

In the operative villages portfolio, the 5,000-bed Al Ain operative village has now opened and leases were signed during Q2 with a number of corporate tenants.

During the first quarter of 2012, Aldar Properties PJSC and Sorouh Real Estate PJSC announced that the companies would be exploring the merits of a potential merger. On 10 June 2012, the two companies announced that a steering committee including representatives from Aldar and Sorouh had been formed to evaluate a potential merger. The companies also announced that the due diligence process was underway to assess in detail the implications for all stakeholders and that this process would take a number of months. The due diligence process is well under way and a further update will be made as and when appropriate.

Ali Eid Al Mheiri, Chairman of Aldar Properties commented: “Aldar’s results clearly demonstrate its strong financial position. Impressive quarterly performance has been driven by the delivery of a substantial volume of units to our customers including the Government of Abu Dhabi. During the second half of the year Aldar will continue to deliver strong revenues and predictable cash flows. This stability enables us to focus on our long-term strategy- to remain Abu Dhabi’s pre-eminent developer. We have a strong pipeline of development projects to deliver over the second half of the year and into 2013 and we look forward to contributing profitably to Abu Dhabi’s future real estate pipeline.”

UAE-donated food aid given out in Yemen

SANAA: The UAE’s Red Crescent Authority (RCA) today distributed food aid packages to needy families in Bani Hashish area in Sanna. The packages which are worth AED 225000 were donated by the Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Humanitarian and Scientific Foundation.

Director of RCA’s office in Yemen Khalfan Saif Al-Kindi, in statements to WAM, that the distribution of food aid will continue to the end of the month of Ramadan.

He expected that the number of beneficiary families will go up to 5750.

More than 28000 Yemeni families received food aid from RCA’s “Sanadhum” humanitarian campaign, he explained.

Half of the people of Yemen suffer an increasingly worsening real tragedy as shortages of food, medicine and clothes become more acute,” according to Al-Kindi.

DPC Highlights New Trends in Arab Drama Production during Final Session of Ramadan Majlis

Dubai: Dubai Press Club’s (DPC) Ramadan Majlis has examined emerging trends in the Arab drama landscape during its concluding session.

Titled New Trends in Arab Drama Production , the evening drew the participation of experts, producers and local artists from the Arab drama and television production industry.

Ibrahim Ustadi of Dubai Media Incorporated moderated the discussion that drew rich insights from Jamal Al Sharif, Director of Dubai Media City and Dubai Studio City; Abdullah Al Ajlah, Director of Production and Purchases of Drama in Dubai Media Incorporated; Emirati artist and producer Ahmed Al Jasimi; Emirati writer and author Jamal Salem; Fadi Ismail, General Manager of O3 Productions, MBC group.

In his opening address, Ahmed Al Jasimi said: “We are witnessing a transition in the Gulf and Arab drama landscape, which requires us as producers to upgrade our technical skills and resources, particularly in production. The recent developments in the political scene have also impacted the course of Arab production. These are some of the challenges we are currently witnessing in the industry.” On his part, Fadi Ismail said it is time for Gulf drama to move away from traditional and repeated themes and actors.

Ismail added: “Development and displaying the courage to innovate production, particularly in the visual components, is the need of the hour. Money is not the only obstacle. The lack of courage in adopting new values also plays a key role in the stagnation. We call on those responsible for art production to show case brilliance and creativity in the visual aspects.” Ismail pointed out that while the viewing ratio may play a role in identifying public references, its measurement is not a permanent and scientific process in the UAE.”The measurement of the viewing ratio is not adopted widely. One needs to read between the lines to identify all the factors that affect the ratios,” he shared.

Jamal Al Sharif highlighted the valuable contribution of Dubai Media City and Dubai Studio City in driving indigenous production. He said: “According to the statistics we have collected, recorded noticed that producers face a challenge in meeting production costs with regards to accommodation, travel, visas, and attracting stars and talent from abroad.” “In the past two years, we registered a large influx in production. In 2011,Dubai Studio City received over 888 shooting requests.

During the first half of 2012, we recorded the highest growth with nine dramas shot in Dubai, including two Syrian series. More recently, the government s initiative to set up the Dubai Film and TV Commission to support local and global production has helped reduce production costs by about 15-20 per cent.” Abdullah Al Ajlah tracked the volume of Arab drama productions during the Holy Month of Ramadan. He said:”Production fell in Syria to 13 series marking a decline of about 50 per cent. Driven by a fall in film production in Egypt, the country recorded the production of 60 series. Gulf States were estimated to have produced 50 series in an effort to meet the needs of local TV stations.” All the panelists agreed on the need to evenly distribute Arab drama productions throughout the year in order to reduce overcrowding during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Mufti of al Quds delivers sermon on Virtues of Ramadan

Abu Dhabi: Mufti of al-Quds al-Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed Hussein has delivered a sermon on the Virtues of Ramadan as part of the Seventh Ramadan Festival co-organized by the Sultan bin Zayed’s Culture and Media Centre and Emirates Heritage Club.

The event was held at Abu Dhabi Theatre at Water Breaker under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President’s Representative, Chairman of the Sultan bin Zayed Culture and Media Centre and Chairman Emirates Heritage Club.

al-Sheikh Hussein greeted President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Their Highnesses Members of Supreme Council and Ruler of Emirates on advent of the Holy Month of Ramadan. He also thanked Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed for his continuous efforts to spread the heritage and culture.

He commenced the lecture by referring to a range of virtues, of which the first was the Holy Quran that was revealed by Almighty Allah to Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah (PUBH) through the archangel Gabriel (peace be upon him) during the month of Ramadan.

The Mufti of al-Quds urged Muslims to worship Allah during the month of Ramadan, indicating that Allah double rewards of good deeds during Ramadan. “Fasting is an obligation and a secret between a slave and his Lord. It is a divine wisdom that He singled out the fasting for Himself, and honor the fasting slaves with large reward.”

Minister of Justice and Swiss ambassador discuss judicial cooperation

Abu Dhabi: Dr. Hadef Jowan Al Dhahiri, Minister of Justice received today in his office at the ministry’s headquarter Mrs. Andrea Reichin, the Swiss Ambassador to the UAE. The meeting discussed ways of developing relations of cooperation in the field of judiciary and programs of cooperation between the UAE and Switzerland in those areas for next phase.

Delegation of Municipality of Abu Dhabi city visits elderly at Khalifa Medical City

Abu Dhabi: A delegation from the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City visited the elderly patients at Khalifa Medical City Hospital, in the context of the Community Ambassadors initiative launched by the Community Services Division at the civic body.

The visit was aimed at promoting the social solidarity, fostering the confidence and interaction with all community segments, and soothing the pains and sufferings of the sick.

The initiative, which is synchronized with the holy month of Ramadan, comes as part of the initiatives launched by the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, and manifests its keen attention to perpetuate the values of communication, compassion and promoting the social solidarity.

The itinerary of the delegation included visiting the elderly patients to console ‘&’ show sympathy with them, giving them the moral support they need, and cheering them up, especially as some of them are missing their relatives during this holy month. Visitors also presented some gifts and well wishes of speedy recovery to patients, and the gesture fostered an elated atmosphere. Patients reciprocated by paying tribute to the Municipality’s initiative, adding that the visit brought to a psychological and social relief to them as well as their loved ones.

Dr Badria Al Dhahri, Director of Community Services, said that visiting patients is a religious and ethical duty, and stressed the Municipality’s keenness on staging humanitarian initiatives.