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Emaar beats analyst expectations

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower owned by Emaar

Emaar Properties, Dubai’s biggest publicly traded developer, reported first-quarter profit that beat estimates after real estate sales in its home market almost doubled by value.

Net income climbed 55 percent to 863 million dirhams ($235 million), the company said in a statement today. The average of four analysts was 739 million dirhams, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Emaar countered a slump in Dubai’s property market by focusing on assets that generate recurring revenue such as shopping centers and hotels. The company plans to list as much as 25 percent of its retail business, which includes the world’s largest mall, as Middle East companies take advantage of rising stock values to raise cash.

“The increase in tourist arrivals to Dubai and the positive market sentiment have catalyzed the growth of our shopping malls and hospitality business,” Chairman Mohamed Alabbar said in the statement.

First-quarter revenue increased to 2.26 billion dirhams from 2.11 billion dirhams, while the cost of sales fell 18 percent to 815 million dirhams. The shopping mall and retail unit contributed 863 million in revenue, Emaar said

The company, which built the world’s tallest tower in Dubai, started several projects and agreed sales totaling 5.9 billion dirhams in the quarter, a 94 percent increase from a year earlier.

Emaar estimates that it will raise 8 billion to 9 million dirhams in the mall-unit listing. Most of that will be distributed as a dividend to shareholders.