Zara Investment (Holding) Company held its 16th General Assembly meeting at Hotel Intercontinental Jordan in Amman. The meeting was headed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr. Sabih Masri. Mr. Masri opened the meeting by thanking the shareholders for attending and by welcoming Mr. Monjed Obeidat , representative of the Companies Controller and Mr. Bishr Bakr managing partner of Ernst & Young Jordan, external auditors of the company, and the attending press and media representatives.
Mr. Masri presented the consolidated financial results for the year 2009 of Zara Investment and its subsidiaries. The chairman highlighted that the Company's consolidated gross operating revenue for 2009 reached JD 76.7 Million (approximately US $108 million), which represents an increase of 1.4% over the year 2008. Consolidated net profit reached JD 7 million, the second highest earnings in the history of the Company. The growth in revenue during what is considered to be one of the toughest periods for tourism worldwide is attributed to the excellent portfolio of Zara's 5-star hotels that are carefully and strategically located throughout the kingdom, in addition to the robustness of the tourism sector in Jordan.
The meeting included a question and answer session by the shareholders. A general discussion took place on the investments of the company in Aqaba where one shareholder commended the latest hotel opened and owned by Zara in Aqaba, the 306-room five-star Movenpick Resort Tala Bay Aqaba. The chairman explained that the Company is going full fledge in its investments in Aqaba, which include the development of Ras Al-Yamaniya, a mixed-use hospitality related project planned for a prime real estate plot of land owned by Zara covering an area of 630,000SqM. Other shareholders inquired about distribution of dividends in the future, to which the chairman explained that as of December 2009 the Company had accumulated losses of JD 7.2 million and therefore it was not in a position to distribute dividends in accordance with Companies'
law. However, the chairman said that projected profits for 2010 are expected to offset the accumulated losses, which would allow the Company to consider distribution of dividends in the future. The chairman emphasized the leading role of the Company and its contribution to the economy of Jordan in terms of revenue and employment. Zara Investment employs approximately 7% of the total direct employment in the tourism sector in Jordan in addition to its leading role in developing the local communities in which it operates.
The meeting was concluded with the approval of the General Assembly of the Company's consolidated financial statements, as well as with the election of Ernst & Young as the Company's auditors for the year ending 31/12/2010.
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