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More consolidation among Gulf developers in face of relentless downturn

Emaar, the Middle East's largest developer, is considering cancelling or postponing three projects including Warsan, Asmaran and Maysan after receiving a petition from investors.

The developer confirmed that it had received a petition. 'Emaar is committed to upholding the interest of all our customers and stakeholders and appreciate their concerns, especially given the current economic conditions,' the company said in a statement.

It launched the three projects last summers but its fortunes have taken a beating in the downturn. Profits were down 45% at the end of the last year, largely due to a massive write down for its US subsidiary, John Laing Homes.

Kuwait's real estate developer Al Mazaya Holding is considering consolidation among some of its units to lower costs. 'You can't have full manpower in companies that don't have projects,' said executive vice president Salwa Malhas.

The developer said that some of its clients had defaulted on loans, forcing the firm to take a series of precautionary measures that could affect earnings. A public offering in Qatar has been put on hold and any future expansion plans are being reconsidered by the firm.

'For the coming six months we will be very conservative in taking any step to get into markets or buying new land. We are concentrating now on projects under construction,' Malhas added.