RAK is rolling with business

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RAK is rolling with business
Ras Al Khaimah's free zones have reported a huge jump in business from clients of Indian origin in 2015.

Dubai - More firms from Indian subcontinent see emirate as a gateway to GCC

By Abdul Basit

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Published: Sat 11 Jun 2016, 8:24 PM

Last updated: Sat 11 Jun 2016, 11:02 PM

The Ras Al Khaimah government's overtures to new business setups are bearing fruit as a large number of entrepreneurs, especially from the Indian subcontinent, are viewing the emirate as their gateway to the GCC.
The introduction of government incentives, business-friendly climate and lower operational costs in free zones have been cited as the top reasons for companies to shift their base to this region.
As per figures released by the emirate's free zones, Ras Al Khaimah's two major designated free zones - Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone Authority (RAK FTZ) and Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (Rakia) - have reported a huge jump in business from clients of Indian origin in 2015. In the beginning of 2016, RAK FTZ reported a significant growth in the number of its active companies from 8,000 to more than 8,600 clients hailing from over 100 countries and representing more than 50 industry sectors.
The stature of Ras Al Khaimah as the new home for doing serious business is fast gaining traction. In addition, the success of established Indian brands in the emirate is leading to a steady stream of companies from as diverse industries such as automotive to power generation, from healthcare to packaging, and from construction to aviation and manufacturing.
Iconic brands such as leading commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland, healthcare product maker Dabur Naturelle, plastic packaging leader Eurocap and utilities leader Utico Middle East believe that their presence in Ras Al Khaimah is extremely important for both economic and operational reasons.
Ashok Leyland, the flagship brand of Indian conglomerate Hinduja Group, is the world's fourth-largest commercial vehicle maker and recently announced a Dh36.5 million expansion of its Ras Al Khaimah facility, where it plans to double assembly of buses from 12 to 24 buses per day by the end of 2016. The company's factory is a joint venture with the Rakia and is the only certified local bus factory in the UAE and GCC region.
Ashok Leyland UAE vice-president for manufacturing K.M. Mandanna describes their operations in Ras Al Khaimah as a logical step to consolidate the company's presence in the region and ensure faster response to their customer demands.
"We have enjoyed a considerable market presence in the entire GCC for almost up to 30 years. The UAE was a preferred country of choice in this region to establish a manufacturing facility," Mandanna added.
Jude Alex, associate manager of human resources at Dabur Naturelle, believes that the emirate's reputation for providing a business-friendly environment and competitive costs of establishing and operating companies are the major factors attracting businesses to the emirate.
"These advantages allow companies in Ras Al Khaimah to maximise their return on investment. The business climate in Ras Al Khaimah is safe and stable and the emirate offers high-quality affordable housing, shopping malls and plenty of family-focused activities," Alex points out.
From its Ras Al Khaimah facility, Dabur Naturelle is involved in the manufacturing and distribution of personal care products, including perfumes, hair care, cosmetics and soaps. The company has been operating in the emirate since 2007 - a testament to its confidence in the market.
Richard Menezes, executive vice-chairman and managing director of Utico Middle East, believes that the wealth of opportunities in Ras Al Khaimah and its neighbouring emirates, along with the close proximity to Oman, have positioned the emirate as an attractive investment destination. Utico is acknowledged as the GCC's largest independent utilities provider, which has set up power generation and water desalination plants in Ras Al Khaimah 10 years ago to provide utilities to the entire UAE.
"Ras Al Khaimah promotes free enterprise with a stable government and has many opportunities for innovative business models and new technologies. It also has a good system to support businesses thrive and prosper with proper governance," Menezes says.
"Ras Al Khaimah is also part of the UAE and its economy is interfaced and linked with other emirates too. Its strategic location and its focus on heavy industries like ceramics, cement, steel, glass and mining, along with the largest dry bulk port in the Middle East gives it a unique position in the country for its business potential and growth linked to these sectors and its support systems."
Companies such as Eurocap find that the emirate is the perfect destination for manufacturing companies. Eurocap, which manufactures injection-moulded plastic packaging items, specialising in caps and lids for perfume and cosmetic products, has launched full-scale operations in 2007 and continues to be one of Ras Al Khaimah's leading manufacturing companies.
P. Haridas, manager of administration and sales at Eurocap, said: "We felt Ras Al Khaimah is a prime location for industrial investors considering the stable utility supplies, easy access to suppliers, which is very important and necessary for the day-to-day activities of a manufacturing unit like ours, a wide logistics network, and moreover, the emirate has a wonderful environment to work in."
The Ras Al Khaimah government's continued investment to build world-class infrastructure and power facilities has led to seamless logistical and operational advantages for companies in the region. Setting up business in the emirate has become easier as the government continuously explores different ways to reduce paperwork and streamline operations. Through a single point for communications, investors can now set up their businesses in the emirate through hassle-free transactions and communications.
- abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com

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