ABU DHABI, 1 February 2015: Waha Capital PJSC, a leading investment company based in Abu Dhabi (ADX: WAHA), has reported a preliminary net profit of AED 1.73 billion for 2014, a 466 percent year-on-year increase from AED 306.4 million in 2013, and the highest earnings in the company’s history. For the fourth quarter of 2014, Waha Capital recorded a net profit of AED 142.1 million, up from AED 75.6 million a year earlier -- an increase of 88 percent.
The company, which was established in 1997, benefited from a strong performance across its principal investments, with AerCap Holdings NV (“AerCap”) providing the largest contribution to earnings growth. Other investments also performed well, with the company’s capital markets division delivering above-market returns from its credit and equities portfolios.
The preliminary results were announced following a Board meeting in Abu Dhabi chaired by His Excellency Hussain Jasim Al Nowais, Chairman of Waha Capital, where the board recommended a dividend of AED 0.25 per share be paid to shareholders, representing a 100 percent increase over dividends paid in 2013.
Commenting on the company’s record results, His Excellency Hussain Jasim Al Nowais, Chairman of Waha Capital, said: “Building on our strong performances in recent years, Waha Capital has delivered an exceptional year, in which we have produced a 51 percent return on equity. We are reaping the benefits of taking a patient, long-term view on our investments, while focusing firmly on value creation and prudent financial management. The company is in excellent shape to take advantage of the attractive investment opportunities we see emerging in the MENA region.”
He added: “Waha Capital is dedicated to delivering shareholder value, and this year’s excellent results are a testament to that. The company is now primed to drive forward its strategy for growth.”
Waha Capital’s assets increased by 89 percent to AED 9.8 billion as of 31 December 2014, from AED 5.2 billion a year earlier. This increase reflects the performance by investments and company activity, including the shareholder value that was unlocked by AerCap’s acquisition of International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) in May, and Waha Capital’s subsequent hedging and financing transactions on AerCap shares. In addition, the company deployed funds in new acquisitions within the healthcare and energy sectors as well as in the capital markets business.
In the second half of 2014, Waha Capital divested three million shares and entered into hedging and financing transactions on its entire remaining stake in Aercap -- approximately 26.8 million shares -- with the aim to reduce risk and lower its cost of capital. The transactions effectively locked in the value of Waha Capital’s stake in AerCap at an average minimum price of $40.04 per share, and up to an average cap price of $57.23 per share, subject to certain adjustments. They also generated aggregated funding of just over AED 4 billion for Waha Capital to partially repay existing debt and fund new investments.
Salem Rashid Al Noaimi, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Waha Capital said: “In 2014, Waha Capital not only benefited from its diversified portfolio of high quality investments, but also worked hard to ensure a robust platform for future growth. The hedging and financing transactions on AerCap shares not only reduced risk in our portfolio, they provided approximately AED 4 billion of additional funding, and helped reduce our leverage ratio to to 28.2 percent as of 31 December 2014, from 37.9 percent a year earlier. With an impressive track record of investment and value creation, we are confident that we can make significant progress in the coming years as we build up our platforms in high potential areas such as healthcare, energy and infrastructure.”
In May of 2014, Waha Capital established a new unit to drive its future investments in the energy sector across the MENA region, and invested approximately AED 274 million in a 20.15 percent stake in Dubai-based oil and gas services company National Petroleum Services (NPS).
With the company reporting record earnings, Waha Capital announced in September its intention to implement a share buy-back programme for up to 10 percent of its outstanding shares, to allow its shareholders to directly benefit from the company’s continued profit generation. Execution on the programme began in the fourth quarter of 2014, following approval by the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority in October 2014. In December, the Company initiated the share buy-back programme and acquired 30.2 million shares (1.55 percent) as of mid-January 2015, for a total purchase price of AED 83.6 million. Waha Capital’s share buy-back programme will end on 19 October 2015.
AerCap, in which Waha Capital owns a 12.6 percent stake, contributed significantly to the Group’s total income. In addition to acquiring ILFC from AIG in 2014, AerCap, the aircraft leasing company signed lease agreements for 249 aircraft, delivered 81 aircraft under contracted lease agreements, purchased 33 new aircraft, and closed the sale and part-out transactions of 83 aircraft. During the 2014 financial year, AerCap signed financing transactions for US$ 11.8 billion and closed the financial year with a portfolio consisting of approximately 1,660 aircraft that were either owned, managed, or under contract to purchase.
Dunia Finance, a UAE-based consumer finance company in which Waha Capital owns a 25 percent stake, again produced strong results, with its loan book growing by 47 percent during 2014, and customer deposits increasing by 61 percent to AED 828.7 million during the same period. The company ended the year with a customer base of 164,600.
The Anglo Arabian Healthcare (AAH) Group, which was acquired by Waha Capital in mid-2013, continued to expand its footprint by making acquisitions in specialty healthcare services, bringing the total investments in AAH to approximately AED 100 million. The company achieved consolidated revenue of AED 128.6 million in 2014 compared to AED 60.8 million in 2013.
Waha Capital co-founded the $300 million MENA Infrastructure Fund in 2006 and has a 17.9 percent limited partner investment in it. The fund, whose other co-sponsors are Fajr Capital and HSBC Bank Middle East, is currently invested in four projects: Alexandria International Container Terminals in Egypt, Qurayyah Independent Power Project (IPP) in Saudi Arabia, United Power Company in Oman and Sohar Power Company in Oman.
Waha Capital booked its first full quarter’s earnings contribution from National Petroleum Services (NPS) in the third quarter of this year, following its acquisition of a 20.15 percent stake in the company in June 2014. During the fourth quarter, NPS continued to position itself for long-term growth, particularly in emerging markets, and to make significant enhancements to the quality of its services. The company secured contracts worth AED 173 million in the fourth quarter, taking total remaining contracts-in-progress to AED 1,526.8 million. Additionally, NPS invested AED 83.9 million in capital expenditure during the last quarter of 2014, taking capital expenditure for 2014 up to AED 211.9 million.
Stanford Marine Group (SMG), which charters and operates offshore supply vessels (OSVs), maintained a stable performance in the fourth quarter with its fleet of 40 vessels, achieving an average utilisation rate of 90 percent. SMG took delivery of 16 ships and completed 556 repair and maintenance jobs, and also took delivery of one anchor handling tug supply and one platform supply vessel. Waha Capital is considering various strategic options for its investment in SMG, including a possible exit.
The capital markets division at Waha Capital continued to develop through private transactions and increased investments in the public capital markets. With a solid three-year track record managing a portfolio of global credit market investments while consistently beating key benchmarks, Waha Capital has started investing in regional equities in 2014 and intends to roll out offerings to third-party investors in 2015.
Waha Capital’s industrial real estate development, ALMARKAZ, continued to see strong leasing demand of remaining space in Phase 1 of the development due to the project’s high-quality infrastructure, strategic location, flexibility and scale. Leasing activity commenced in the second quarter of 2013 and 80 percent occupancy of the small industrial units was achieved by the end of 2014, with leasing rates based at current market levels.