Lebanon's Solidere records a profit of $49mln in 2019

Solidere has seen significant land sales in the second half of 2019 and the first four months of 2020

  
Buildings are seen in Beirut, Lebanon September 26, 2018.

Buildings are seen in Beirut, Lebanon September 26, 2018.

REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

BEIRUT: A big leap in land sales in 2019 helped real estate company Solidere to record a profit of close to $49 million compared to a loss of around $115 million in 2018, according to the company’s balance sheet released Monday.

Solidere has seen significant land sales in the second half of 2019 and the first four months of 2020 as many depositors decided to unfreeze their bank accounts to buy properties in Downtown Beirut and other areas in Lebanon.

The financial statement prepared by Deloitte auditing firm said Solidere sold $234.4 million in 2019 compared to only $1.274 million in 2018.

Revenues from rented properties in 2019 fell to $53.215 million from $56.855 million in 2018.

Revenues from rendered services dropped to $7.724 million from $8.097 million in 2018.

Revenues from hospitality reached $13,709 in 2019 compared to $8,656 in 2018.

Total gross revenues of the company in 2019 reached $295.404 million in 2019 compared to $66.236 million in 2018.

Total assets value of Solidere was $2.249 billion in 2019 compared to $2.481 billion in 2018.

Total liabilities in 2019 fell to $417.443 million from $698.650 million in 2018.

The Vice President of Solidere Ghazi Youssef told The Daily Star in May 22 that the company made a comeback to profitability after selling close to $500 million in properties over the past two years, allowing it to settle all its debts.

“We did relatively well despite the crisis that engulfed Lebanon. We sold around $450 million to $500 million worth of land in the downtown district in the past two years. We had debts of around $600 million in the past and now I can say we are no longer in the red,” Youssef said.

Youssef expressed his belief that many Lebanese have chosen to invest their money in real estate. “There is around $5 billion in cash in the market and it seems some [people] have preferred to buy land in Solidere because they think it’s a sound invest

One source told The Daily Star that the company had been accepting bankers' checks from clients.

“Banks won’t allow their customers to withdraw dollar banknotes from their accounts or transfer them abroad. But they do accept issuing bankers checks inside Lebanon to buy properties or goods, for example. As long as the dollar stays in Lebanon, the banks won’t mind issuing these checks,” the source said.

The growing demand for properties has reflected positively on the shares of the company, which have now leaped over $12.

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