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Egyptian property firm Palm Hills hit by Q3 loss
Published in Daily News Egypt on 03 - 11 - 2011

CAIRO: Egyptian real estate group Palm Hills, the country's second-biggest listed developer, reported a third-quarter net loss on Thursday, hit by weaker revenues and what analysts suspect was a high rate of cancellations.
The firm, battered by investigations into previous state land sales and by client cancellations after the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in February, posted a LE 17.7 million ($2.97 million) net loss for the third quarter, which compared with a LE 153.7 million net profit in the same period last year.
Analysts said it was unclear whether the firm would manage to improve its results anytime soon, blaming uncertainty in the economy and the company's legal and political woes.
"We believe this is mainly due to further cancellations. When the company receives cancellations it must back out revenues already recognized," one analyst that did not want to be named said.
"We believe that Palm Hills will continue to have difficulties given its legal and political problems," the analyst said.
Palm Hill's revenue fell to LE 135.4 million, a 64.5 percent drop from LE 381.7 million a year earlier.
The company is just one of several real estate firms in the Arab world's most populous country facing legal challenges relating to their land holdings since a court ruled last year that a sale of state land to Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG) , the country's biggest developer, was illegal because it was not auctioned.
The probes into land deals have sped up since the uprising as attention turned to the regime's former links with businessmen.
Palm Hill's chairman Yasseen Mansour and former housing minister Ahmed El-Maghrabi were cleared of corruption charges in a state land sale in July.
But the company is awaiting a verdict from another court on whether the contract for the sale should be scrapped.
The firm is also facing other court cases contesting the legality of two of its land plots and has said it would return some plots of land to help manage cash flows.
"In the meantime, the environment in Egypt along with consumers' worries about Palm Hill's legal problems has resulted in continued cancellations," an analyst said.
Palm Hills posted a nine-month loss of LE 99.1 million, which compared with a net profit of LE 345.1 million in the same period last year.

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