Airport freezone posts 55pc surge in investment

DUBAI — Dubai Airport Freezone recorded a 55 per cent surge in investments in the first quarter of this year consequent to 16 companies stepping up operations in the zone this year.

By Issac John

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Published: Thu 15 Apr 2010, 11:20 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 9:37 AM

The freezone, established within the boundaries of Dubai International Airport, is one of the fastest growing free zones in the region and is home to 1450 companies at present, a spokesman told Khaleej Times.

The strong first quarter growth in investments is due to an increase in the number of new companies registered in the first quarter, said Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Freezone. “In addition, existing companies at the Freezone expanded by 38 per cent in their premises space.”

In 2009, the Freezone posted 30 per cent growth in revenue compared to the previous year as a result of considerable expansion in office space by major European and American companies based in the Free zone.

Shaikh Ahmed pointed out that quarter one expansions were led by 16 European and American companies who have stepped up their activities in the region in search of new markets. “The expansion of operations required an increase in office space and warehousing facilities to accommodate equipment and staff.”

“The Freezone’s contribution to Dubai’s gross domestic product was 2.2 per cent last year. And is expected to grow with the increase in number of companies and additional investments by major international companies seeking a foothold in the Middle East, central Asia and Africa,” said Shaikh Ahmed. The Freezone’s performance during the first quarter of 2010 gives an indication on the positive trend that is expected to continue for the rest of the year, he contended. “This is also an indication of the keenness of foreign companies to explore alternative investment opportunities and search for new markets for its products and services in the region in general and Dubai in particular.” He said the free zones, and Dubai Airport Freezone in particular, have launched incentives for investors that sparked an interest among many multinational companies seeking to diversify their markets offering attractive terms.

Dubai Airport Freezone offers many advantages and incentives that meet the needs of foreign companies such as telecommunications services, facilitation of visas and fast tracked approval of trade licenses which is released on average within three working days.”

“We have achieved what we sought in the past 14 years attracting the biggest foreign investments in different fields and sectors.”

The business investment sector represented 62 per cent of total activities of the Freezone, followed by the services sector, which accounted for 36 per cent, followed by the industrial sector. The industrial and aviation services, electronics and electrical appliances sectors were the top sectors in terms of number of companies and rates ranged from 10 to12 per cent.

Building materials, cargo and freight came second with 10 per cent. The pharmaceutical and jewellery sector make up 8 per cent of the companies operating in the Freezone. Some 609 European and American companies in various sectors account for 42 per cent of the total Freezone companies. The Gulf and Middle East companies came second with 32 per cent share. The Japanese companies also registered a larger presence in the first quarter of 2010 to continue what they started in 2009.

“We are implementing the expansion plans as scheduled taking into consideration the current economic circumstances and the indicators of demand by foreign investors. The ongoing new buildings with an area of up to 32,000 sq.m are expected to complete by 2012,” said Shaikh Ahmed.

“We are doing our best to achieve our goals attracting more investments by providing various facilities and incentives for global companies according to a scheduled strategy. The support that Dubai Airport Freezone receives from the government is the driving force behind our stated achievements,” he said. Shaikh Ahmed referred to the Freezone’s future strategy, which aims at creating dynamic partnerships with major international companies and the creation of common institutions that benefits both parties.

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