Our message over the previous years has been growth, new projects, new demand, but this year it is very much construction and delivery,” says Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president of corporate communications at Damac Properties. With that message, Damac has been marketing every stage of its progress, assuring buyers and investors that the units they bought will be delivered on schedule. Last year, Damac announced that it had 11,313 units under construction. The company has delivered 3,029 in the last 12 months, and will deliver the rest by the end of 2010.
McLoughlin explains that Damac has been working with customers and transferring their investments from longer-term projects to the ones under construction or that are almost completed. “We have approached our customers on a case-by-case basis. It is a winning situation for them because they get the product earlier. It may also be a question of consolidating their portfolio to ease payment terms for them,” says McLoughlin. This strategy has been very successful, as it helped decrease potential payment defaults, which is the last thing either developers or customers want.
The company has also dedicated a new management team to focusing on customer queries, handling them case by case. “Losing a customer is not good for us, and also not good for the customer,” says McLoughlin.
Currently, Damac is not planning any news launches. The company is issuing enabling works contracts for its projects in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. “By the end of the year, we anticipate awarding two to three main contractor works with a value of over AED 1billion [$272 million],” explains Mc Loughlin.
As for the long term, McLoughlin says the company will be looking to expand regionally, but not before the time is right. “Now the market is not ready for expansion, so our short-term objective is consolidating and constructing what we have launched,” he adds.