Tecom Group Invests Dh1.7 Billion In Strategic Projects

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) The board of directors at Tecom Group, the creator of strategic, sector-focused business districts across Dubai and a major contributor to the rapid growth of Dubai's knowledge and innovation-based economy, has approved a strategic acquisition and development plan following a board meeting held earlier today.

The expansion plan will involve Tecom Group investing Dh966 million to acquire commercial and industrial assets from Dubai Holding Asset Management and earmarking Dh689 million for to develop grade A offices in Dubai Design District (“d3”).

“The strategic acquisitions are in line with the Group's clearly defined roadmap to achieve sustainable growth and continue delivering strong performance through strengthening its portfolio of flexible and high-quality commercial and industrial assets as a result of tapping into new sources of sustainable growth. The investment
plan will enable the Group to further cement its leading position in developing integrated business ecosystems and enabling growth across key strategic sectors within Dubai. It will also seek to unlock greater returns for shareholders
over the mid to long-term,” a statement said.

Abdulla Belhoul, chief executive officer of Tecom Group, said:“As we embark on our ambitious Dh1.7 billion strategic acquisitions and development plan, Tecom Group is well-equipped and poised to capitalise on the unique opportunities that Dubai's commercial real estate market
offers. This plan is not just an expansion of our asset base, it is a strategic move to harness favourable market
dynamics and drive our vision forward, reinforcing our commitment to Dubai and the UAE's growth and will unlock greater value for our shareholders
and other key stakeholders.”

“This expansionary plan is perfectly aligned with a key pillar of our growth strategy which is tapping new sources of growth to expand our offerings and boost our portfolio value. Expanding through acquisitions has always been a crucial lever to help accelerate our growth ambitions and cater to evolving market

He added:“Thanks to our prudent financial
management, optimised capital structure, and strong financial
performance so far this year, we have the financial
means to execute these deals while maintaining a healthy cash profile. We look forward to updating the market
as we execute our growth agenda.“

The strategic acquisition and development plan includes the following assets:

1. Operational Grade A office space buildings in Dubai Internet City: T ecom Investment FZ LLC, a Tecom Group subsidiary, will acquire two grade A office buildings from DHAM with a combined value of Dh420 million. Over the past years, Dubai Internet City has sustained high occupancy levels, driven by strong demand for premium office spaces in central business districts. The office buildings have a gross leasable area (GLA) of 334,000 square feet with high occupancy level consisting of a customer base that includes leading regional and international tech companies. The acquisition will have an immediate positive impact on the group's financial
performance while also supporting the commercial assets portfolio.

A view of Dubai Industrial City. Dubai Industrial City witnessed exceptional performance in 2023. - Supplied photos

2. Industrial land located in Dubai Industrial City: The group's subsidiary, Dubai Industrial City LLC, will acquire several plots with total area 13.9 million square feet of strategically located, well-connected land plots allocated for industrial leasing from DHAM for a combined value of Dh410 million to enhance the group's land bank
and satisfy demand for this asset type. Dubai Industrial City witnessed exceptional performance in 2023, driven in large part by the government's pro-growth strategy and initiatives such as mixed-use development,“Operation 300 Billion” and“Make it in Emirates”. The acquisition of the target land plots is expected to have a positive impact on the group's financial
performance over the short and medium term, along with further enhancing revenue predictability, given the long-term nature of the lease contracts.

3. Future Grade A office spaces in d3: Dubai Design District FZ LLC, one of Tecom Group's subsidiaries, will acquire 629,000 square feet gross floor area (GFA) from DHAM for Dh136 million within Design Quarter, a mixed-use development located in phase two of the creative district. The group intends to earmark Dh689 million to develop six grade A office buildings with an expected total GLA of 503,000 square feet. D3 has been one of the group's most sought-after specialised districts with high occupancy rates and existing offices nearing full capacity. This is driven by strong demand from customers in the design, fashion and creative industries, in addition to the increasing appeal of the creative district as a global destination for creative minds from around the world. The group anticipates demand to continue gathering pace, bolstered by the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda“D33” and the“Dubai Creative Economy
Strategy”, which aim to cement Dubai's position as a global destination for culture and creativity. The project is expected to be completed by 2028, in turn achieving a positive impact in the long term.

A view of Dubai Design District. D3 has been one of the group's most sought-after specialised districts with high occupancy rates and existing offices nearing full capacity.

Tecom said it has adhered to all relevant regulatory and governance requirements related to the acquisitions, including following the best practices and international standards of appraisals by conducting the valuation through a credible and independent third party accredited by the regulatory authorities.

Conducive market

According to recent industry reports, Dubai's office market
continues to see strong occupier demand, driving average occupancy levels to 93 per cent in Q4 2023 compared to 88 per cent in Q4 2022. The average occupancy level across Tecom Group's business districts was 91 per cent (as of March 31, 2024), with d3 occupancy rates reaching 98 per cent for the same period. The industrial segment is also continuing to demonstrate robust growth, which is driving occupancy rates higher and leading to a notable increase in rental rates.

Positive impact

The planned value-accretive asset acquisitions are expected to yield a significant positive impact on the Group's financial
performance. The acquisition of the two fully leased operating assets in Dubai Internet City, will have an immediate impact on the group's top-line.“The remaining acquisitions will further enhance Tecom Group's revenue visibility by attracting new customers, further diversifying its customer base while maintaining its current healthy EBITDA margins. Furthermore, the strategic acquisitions will support portfolio value appreciation,” the statement said.

Well-funded for the planned expansion plan

The Group is well funded for the planned transactions from existing sources, driven by its solid financial
performance, underpinned by a healthy leverage position and ample liquidity, with the option to tap into up to Dh3.2 billion from its existing revolving credit facility, which was refinanced in 2023 at more competitive financing terms.


Khaleej Times

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