LISTED property developer Sunland Group worked hard to assure shareholders that their investment in the company was sound at an AGM today at the Palazzo Versace Hotel on the Gold Coast following reports of a collapsing Dubai economy.
The sharemarket was slammed today in the wake of the government of Dubai asking for a six-month debt moratorium for its investment vehicle, Dubai World.
But Sunland managing director Sahba Abedian and founder and director Soheil Abedian moved to alleviate fears based around reports of an economic collapse in Dubai, saying the Australian company was non recourse to its Dubai operations.
In an often theatrical display, Soheil Abedian commented that he might as well be ‘speaking in Persian’ if the media and ill informed shareholders were not grasping what he was saying.
When one shareholder questioned why the company’s so called global diversification program five years ago had only gone as far as Dubai, it became too much.
“I’m really pissed off, I’m going to speak in Persian because my English is obviously not good enough,” said Abedian Snr.
“It is paramount for you to understand that the Australian asset portfolio is totally separate to Dubai. The Dubai asset has independent management and board.”
On the cusp of the developer’s 25th anniversary, it announced forecast 2010 profit of $15 million following a net loss of $145 million as the global economic crisis battered sales.
The company cut loose 50 per cent of its staff in the last 12 months while executive management took a 16% pay decrease.
“The past 18 months has been very difficult for all companies and Sunland is not immune to the global economic crisis,” says managing director Sahba Abedian (pictured).
The Group stated that it was looking at the next 12 months with cautious optimism and reiterated its strong cash standing ($170 million in reserves) with residential projects in the pipeline.
The company will focus on delivering projects with product priced from between $300,000 and $750,000 in South East Queensland and Victoria.
The company splashed $59.4 million on new acquisitions and will take a ‘conservative approach’ over the next 12 months.
“We are very fortunate that we have secured a leading position, a cornerstone interest in all major golfing estates on the Gold Coast,” says Sahba Abedian.
“Most of our peers are unable to attain debt finance but we have not relied upon funding from the banks and have been able to equity fund our projects.”
Write downs in Australia have totaled $61.3 million and $209.3 million in Dubai.
Earlier this year media and gaming mogul James Packer quit the Sunland board.
The share price was today down 3% trading at 71c per unit.
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