BENCHMARK TEAM / UAE The past nine month period saw Union Properties (UP) take focused steps in order to turn around the company, which still nurses large accumulated losses and loans that could have posed serious challenges for the company going forward. The largest shareholder in the DFM- listed property company, Emirates NBD, sold 32.6 per cent of its stake resulting in a decrease in its shareholding from 47.6 per cent as at December 31, 2012 to 15 per cent as of September 30, 2013 . And in the process, the bank made a profit of AED191 million from this transaction. During the period, the company has repaid long term bank loans amounting to AED2.098 billion to various banks, in particular an amount of AED1.969 billion to Emirates NBD. Another loan outstanding of AED360 million has been rescheduled to be paid in one installment on January 20, 2014 . After undergoing all sorts of difficulties a property player can be expected to face during a downturn in the industry, Union Properties went for a downsizing that saw its assets shrink from AED9.091 billion to AED 6.541 billion during this period. In the meantime, the board of directors of Union Properties has approved the sale of certain properties amounting to AED2.460 billion to related parties. The proceeds from the sale of properties were used to settle loans taken from various banks including its erstwhile single largest stakeholder - Emirates NBD. During the nine months, the Group has transferred title deeds of properties amounting to AED2.460 billion. Union Properties has made a profit of AED307.1 million for the nine-month period compared with AED155.627 mil- lion for the same period last year, albeit gain on valuation of properties contributed AED171.279 million to the bottom line for the nine-month period last year. The fair value gain for the current period was only AED56.3 million. The group has accumulated losses of AED823.3 million as of September end, 2013. From the bank borrowings of AED1.574 billion, an amount of AED495.6 million is due within 12 months from the end of third quarter. Even as problems are yet to the sorted out fully, the board of directors of the company has expressed confidence that UP will be able to meet its commitments as they fall due in the foreseeable future. During the nine months, the Group's share of profit in Properties Investment amounted to AED50.2 million and its share of profit in Emirates District Cooling amounted to AED12.8 million. Further, Properties Investments has declared and paid a dividend of AED10 million during the said nine- month period.BB
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