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2010 Jan 25

Waha Capital achieves highest profits since establishment

Abu Dhabi, 25 January 2010: Waha Capital, the diversified Abu Dhabi-based ADX-listed holding company, has recorded the highest profits since it was established in 1997, with net profit growing to AED 217 million as of 31 December 2009 compared to AED 40 million during the previous year, representing an increase of 442%.

The results announcement came at the company’s board meeting in Abu Dhabi which was led by His Excellency Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of Waha Capital, and attended by members of the board and the executive management of the company.

Operating profits increased by 351% compared to the same period in 2008, reaching AED 212 million. The company’s total operating income also grew 71% over 2008 to AED 846 million. As of 31 December 2009, the company’s operational assets are AED 4.3 billion.

His Excellency Hussain Al Nowais said, "Over the past year we announced several key investment initiatives, in line with our proven strategy. The investments also reflect Waha's serious commitment to improving its performance by executing innovative investment and financial programmes, while ensuring new revenue streams."

In February 2009, the U.A.E. Armed Forces mandated Waha Capital to arrange and manage the purchase of several military aircraft valued at approximately AED 11 billion. Al Nowais explained that the deal is the first of its kind in the region and reflects the government's trust in Waha's performance, expertise and outstanding capabilities in providing high quality financial services.

He noted that the first phase of the deal was concluded in December 2009, and included the purchase of nine military aircraft on behalf of the U.A.E. Armed Forces in a deal valued at approximately AED 6.7 billion. Al Nowais explained that Waha is coordinating with the U.A.E. Armed Forces to execute the coming phases of the project which will be announced later this year.

The Waha Capital Chairman highlighted developments within Waha Land, the company’s real estate arm, including the launch of the Al Markaz multi-use project in Abu Dhabi in April 2009. Citing some of the highlights, he said, "The development will occupy an area of six square kilometers and includes an integrated complex of storage facilities and warehouses, light industrial structures, as well as housing projects that can accommodate up to 28,000 people."

Al Nowais continued, "The company started works on the first phase of the project in December 2009, beginning with ground leveling and infrastructure installation. Works on completing the project within the stipulated deadline will continue as the first phase worth AED 4 billion is scheduled for completion by the end of the first quarter of 2011."

Other company highlights detailed by Al Nowais include the April 2009 acquisition of a 50% stake in Aerventure Ltd, part of the Dutch company "Aercap Holdings", one of the leading NYSE-listed companies in the aviation sector with assets in excess of AED 8.8 billion.

He noted that the deal contributed to furthering the competitive edge Waha Capital has built in local and global markets as Waha Capital manages more than 100 aircraft on four continents with a market value of AED 16 billion.

Al Nowais went on to talk about Waha Maritime’s inauguration of its first two support vessels, the 2009-built AHT Waha I and Waha II, which are now active in Abu Dhabi after being launched in August 2009.

He explained that the company leased the vessels to one of Abu Dhabi’s leading national companies specialized in oil and gas, as a result of the increasing demand for such high performance equipment in the region.

The Chairman of Waha continued, "It is no secret that the emirate of Abu Dhabi has succeeded in establishing a unique growth model based on preserving the cultural legacy of the emirate while at the same time starting a socio economic growth drive."

Al Nowais spoke of the investment policy put in place by the company’s management team which has been built on the integrated economic matrix created by the government of Abu Dhabi by focusing on opportunities available on the local market that enjoys high growth rates across all sectors and yet keeping its doors open to investment openings on the regional and global scenes.

He went on to say that the company is currently studying a number of potential highly lucrative investment projects and programmes, and is working to leverage its administrative and technical structure and highly experienced teams of talent to improve its competitiveness both locally and internationally.

Al Nowais thanked the Leadership represented by His Highness Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council for their continuous support to all national companies in overcoming obstacles for the sake of UAE citizens and the nation.

Salem Rashid Al Noaimi, CEO of Waha Capital, said, "We have witnessed numerous unprecedented challenges in light of the financial crisis, and its consequences remain unclear. However, such circumstances have also resulted in investment opportunities and possibilities for new initiatives in a number of economic sectors particularly in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. Waha has capitalized on these opportunities as others were reluctant to push forward their investment programmes at both the local and global levels."

Al Noaimi noted that during 2009, the company has made significant leaps forward in achieving growth and excellence in numerous projects and specialized programmes. These reflect our overall goal of achieving growth through the company’s diversification strategy, which has been designed to generate the greatest return on investment for our shareholders, while protecting their rights.

He added, "Waha Capital's outstanding financial performance in 2009 is a further testament to the strength of our strategy in leveraging Waha Capital's capabilities to further its investment plans in different sectors."

He went on to say that Waha is constantly monitoring global and local market indicators and performance. He said: "This helps us in selecting strong investment opportunities. In the near term, we will continue to identify additional opportunities, conduct appropriate research and choose the right time to invest."

He concluded: "As our results have proven, despite the economic downturn, we still see strong investment opportunities with high profitability and lower risk, particularly in the U.A.E. markets, where we are studying a number of investment opportunities across various sectors."

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