he chairman of Emaar Properties has insisted he remains committed to the Dubai-based developer in the face of concern about the number of roles he has taken on at other real estate companies.
Shareholders are expected to raise questions about Mohamed Alabbar's role at the company's annual general meeting on April 15, after a year in which he has emerged as a figurehead for other real estate companies, many of which are stocked with former senior Emaar executives.
However, in an interview with Arabian Business published on Sunday, Alabbar said his commitment to the company which he has lead since its inception in 1997 remained intact.
"For the past 20 years I have sat on boards in the real estate business and I continue to sit on boards from Bahrain to Malaysia, Singapore, the United States and many other countries. That's nothing new for me, that's what I'm good at," he was quoted as saying by the outlet.
"But while I am doing that, what do the numbers say? How is the company doing? Let's just talk about numbers. Look at the profits we deliver, because that is what matters," he added, pointing to the company's profits in 2014, which rose 28 percent.
Alabbar has emerged as the public face of a number of other real estate developers in the past year, including the company which will build the new administrative capital city in Egypt – a development expected to cost upwards of $45 billion.
The firm, Capital City Partners, comprises a group of investors "that I lead and who trust me", Alabbar said in the interview.
Alabbar said he believed the furore had emerged now because of the high profile of many of these developments. While Emaar has an Egyptian business, which is expected to go public this year, the chairman insisted many of the projects of companies in which he's involved don't clash with Emaar's strategy.
"The Emaar board decided some time ago that markets such as Serbia were ones it did not wish to participate in," Alabbar said of Eagle Hills, in which he is a founding shareholder. It is developing a project in Belgrade which obtained Serbian government approval on Friday in the face of some local opposition.
As for conflicts of interest and whether his participation in other real estate firms raised corporate governance questions, Alabbar insisted it was better for him to be involved in other property companies as that was where his expertise was.
"These are all companies in real estate, a field in which I believe I have something to contribute and offer. I am not on the board of a technology or media or telecom company. It is strictly real estate," he said.
He added it was a "privilege" to see so many former Emaar executives in senior positions in other real estate firms.