First Bahrain swings back to profitability

Company reported gain of $1.3mln for the year ended December 2019


MANAMA: First Bahrain Real Estate Development Company has swung back to profitability, reporting a gain of $1.3 million for the year ended December 2019.

The announcement follows the annual general meeting of shareholders in which the company’s chairman Waleed Alkhaja said, “I am very pleased to report a return in profitability in a year marked by activation of two projects on our strategic land downtown.

“We signed a long-term lease with Jarir Bookstore in which we will build their first branch in Bahrain.

On the adjacent plot, we are happy to report the conclusion of construction of the El Balcón Mall, an open-air food and beverage-oriented retail facility across the street from the City Centre Bahrain.”

Mr Alkhaja said success in sales and collections have put First Bahrain in its strongest cash position in the decade since the global financial crisis.

Funding for the construction of the El Balcón Mall and Jarir Bookstore projects comes from a $8 million facility made available by Khaleeji Commercial Bank, which also took on all the group’s outstanding debt as part of a major re-financing deal during the year.

“The arrangement with Khaleeji,” Mr Alkhaja added, “lengthened our tenor and significantly reduced our annual cash payments, supporting our strong cash position and giving us the flexibility needed to withstand economic shocks such as we are now facing.”

Highlighting the benefits of First Bahrain’s diversified portfolio of residential, commercial and industrial property, Mr Alkhaja noted that during the year, 22 of the 42 title deeds for the homes in El Mercado Village were handed over to buyers, resulting in significant cash inflows against receivables.

He also noted that while the commercial properties were under pressure with the social and governmental restrictions in place due to the pandemic, the industrial properties continue to perform well as they support the portions of the economy which continue to function.

“While the world is confronting this Covid-19 pandemic, I can assure you that we are healthy and able to weather the storm,” added Mr Alkhaja.

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