Page last updated at 15:18 GMT, Thursday, 30 July 2009 16:18 UK

Dubai property firm sees big loss

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The Middle East's biggest property developer - Emaar Properties - has reported a big loss after bets on the US property market went wildly wrong.

The firm made a loss of 1.3bn dirhams ($350m; £215m) between April and June after it was forced to write off 1.73bn dirhams from its US homes division.

Emaar made a profit of 2.1bn dirhams in the same period last year.

Its home market of Dubai is also experiencing a slump in development as the global slowdown bites.

The company described the first half of the year as "extremely challenging".

But it was US property interests - Emaar bought John Laing Homes in the US in 2006 - that hit the firm hardest.

"Due to continued slowdown in the US real estate market and chapter 7 [bankruptcy] proceedings relating to John Laing Homes, Emaar decided to write down its complete book value of JL Homes during the second quarter," the company said.

Analysts said that the decision to draw a line under its US interests could be beneficial.

"I think investors will take the write-down positively as Emaar have decided to wash their hands of JL Homes completely and move on," said Bobby Sarkar at Al Mal Capital.

Emaar is best known as the company developing Burj Dubai, the world's tallest skyscraper, which is due for completion later this year.

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