Dubai’s Union Properties Restructuring Debt to Weather Real Estate Slump

Union Properties PJSC is restructuring debt and trimming costs to weather a slump in Dubai’s real estate market.

“We are focusing on restructuring our balance sheet, and all our efforts will be directed to reduce our accumulated losses in the past,” Vice Chairman Fathi Ben Grira said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. The company restructured 946 million dirhams ($258 million) of debt in August.

Chronic oversupply has battered property values and rents over the past six years in Dubai. Measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus aggravated that decline, and demand is expected to drop further as jobs are lost and expatriates forced to move out.

Still, Union Properties returned to a profit in the third quarter and has plans to develop a new mixed-use project in Dubai. Ben Grira said on Tuesday that the company wasn’t materially impacted by the coronavirus.

“We had to cut costs like everyone but the situation forced us to go faster,” he said, adding that the bulk of redundancies were now complete.

Union Properties’ shares are up about 6% this year, outperforming a 28% drop in the DFM Real Estate & Construction Index.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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