Majid al-Futtaim Group (MAF), a Dubai-based developer and operator of shopping mall said its 2016 revenues have recorded year-on-year growth of 9 per cent as its expands retail network across the region.

The revenues climbed to AED29.9bn ($8.14bn), up from AED27.3bn while total assets advanced to AED53bn at the end of last year from AED51bn reported for 2015.

“Performance was largely driven by the addition of several new hypermarkets, supermarkets and family entertainment centres across the group’s geographic footprint,” MAF said in a 31 December statement.

Net debt reached AED9bn for the period for the company, which owns and operates 20 shopping malls, 12 hotels and three mixed-use communities, with further developments underway in the region. It had reported a net debt of around AED9.6bn at the end of 2015, according to the statement.

Despite difficult market conditions, the company has maintained growth and “this gives us great confidence that we can continue our growth trajectory in 2017,” MAF Holding chief executive Alain Bejjani said, adding that the company plans further progress our expansion in markets including the UAE, Egypt, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.

Operating companies

On an operating company level, Majid al-Futtaim Properties expanded its portfolio, reporting an increase in revenue by 10 per cent to AED4.5. It contributed to about 68 per cent of the group’s earnings before income, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA). MAF hotels had an 8 per cent decline in revenue per available room (RevPAR), despite outperforming the broader hospitality market, which dropped by 12 per cent, the company said in the statement.

Majid al-Futtaim Retail launched 10 new Carrefour hypermarkets and 10 supermarkets in 2016, strengthening its presence to more than 170 outlets in 15 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Overall revenues increased by 8 per cent year-on-year to AED23.9bn, according to the statement, which added that market in Kenya has also seen opening for first Carrefour, which marks company’s entry into Sub-Saharan Africa.

Majid al-Futtaim Ventures, which runs MAF portfolio of cinemas, leisure and entertainment, fashion, healthcare, consumer finance and food & beverage businesses had revenue growth of 29 per cent taking it to AED1.9bn.

MAF continues to make significant progress with its expansion plans across Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE and Egypt. During 2016, the company announced plans to develop two new shopping malls in Riyadh; Mall of Saudi and City Centre Ishbiliyah. In Oman, MAF announced a number of new projects including Mall of Oman, City Centre Sohar and My City Centre Sur as well as additional investments across its business in the Sultanate. The company also unveiled a strategic development plan that will see it develop new projects and expand existing assets and businesses in the UAE.

Financing

MAF said it is on track with its development plans in Egypt with The Mall of Egypt set to open in the first quarter of this year and City Centre Almaza, the third City Centre in Egypt, due for opening in 2019.

“Building on fast expansion plan of Majid al-Futtaim Retail, the company is looking to strengthen its presence in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia,” the company said in the statement, adding that with these large-scale developments, MAF “is well placed to fully leverage” the growth potential in the region.

The company maintain its financing and liquidity position, which is sufficient to cover its net financing needs for the next two years through its cash and available committed lines. MAF last year raised $300m through conventional bond tap and used to proceeds to fund the ongoing projects

MAF’s credit ratings have been reaffirmed by both Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s at BBB with a stable outlook in 2016.

The firm is at early stages of talks with banks for a loan and could opt to raise $1.5bn of sharia-complaint debt, MEED reported earlier this month. MAF has yet to issue a formal request for proposal and is open to different financing options, sources said at the time. The firm could use the planned revolver credit facility could be used to pay existing debt and fund some of the ongoing developments.