Shares in Arabtec slumped to a one-month low yesterday after the company posted a 15 per cent drop in full-year net profit and cut its dividend payout to investors.
The Dubai-based contractor's stock price has been in sharp focus recently after jumping more than 180 per cent in the first two months of the year on speculation the company was about to win several key infrastructure contracts.
However, Arabtec shares Thursday fell 2.67 per cent to Dh8.87 on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index after the firm proposed a dividend of five fils per share and a bonus issue amounting to 5 per cent of its capital. Arabtec paid a 25 per cent stock dividend in 2010.
Full-year profit after accounting for minority interests stood at Dh260.5 million, down 15 per cent, while revenue declined eight per cent to Dh5 billion, Arabtec said in a statement to the DFM.
According to Reuters calculations, however, Arabtec's fourth quarter profit surged three-fold to Dh165.8 million, against Dh54.7 million in the corresponding period in 2010.
"The implied revenue for the fourth quarter came in at Dh1.46 billion, beating our estimate by a significant 33 per cent and consensus by 20 per cent, indicating very strong execution during the quarter," said Jan Pawel Hasman, associate vice-president of equity research at EFG-Hermes.
"More importantly, the Board of Directors proposed a dividend of Dh0.05 per share, which comes as a significant surprise. We were not expecting Arabtec to pay dividends this year.
"While the results could support the shares in the following sessions and slow down the sharp correction noticed in the past couple of trading sessions, we remain of the view that Arabtec's shares remain overvalued and reiterate our fair value of Dh1.5 per share," he added.
The company said in November the value of a contract it won in Saudi Arabia may rise to 1.5 billion riyals (Dh1.4 billion). Earlier this year, a unit of Arabtec won a Dh561 million contract for the expansion of Dubai International Airport.
Earlier this week, it emerged Abu Dhabi-based sovereign wealth fund Aabar Investments had raised its stake in the builder to 5.28 per cent.
"The main thing to look for now is how this will affect Arabtec winning projects in Abu Dhabi; the company is big enough to secure large contracts," said Samer Darwiche, a Dubai-based associate at Gulfmena Investments.
"Most investors booked profits in Arabtec yesterday as the stock has been performing well year-to-date. However, the numbers have not been a big factor in Arabtec's rally; the main driver was Aabar Investments increasing its stake in the company," Darwiche added.
Darwiche also said Arabtec's cash dividend came as a surprise despite fourth quarter results beating estimates due to higher efficiency.
"The dividend yield is low compared to what other UAE-listed companies have paid out, especially lenders, but balance sheets are healthier in the banking sector," he said.