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Sat 13 Nov 2010 05:25 PM

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Abu Dhabi Ports Co invests $7.2bn in industrial zone

Industry area will offer 100% foreign ownership to companies that contribute to emirate's GDP

Abu Dhabi Ports Co invests $7.2bn in industrial zone
Port to be operational by Q4 2012 and expecting to be 15% of emirates non oil GDP by 2030

State backed Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) will invest $7.2bn in the first phase of an industrial zone and will offer 100 percent foreign ownership to companies that contribute to the emirate's GDP, government officials said on Saturday.

The Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), located between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, also includes a sea port that would be operational by fourth quarter 2012, ending the first phase development.

Currently foreign companies must have a local partner to start an industry in the United Arab Emirates.

Executive vice president of Industrial Zones at ADPC Khaled Salmeen, told reporters: "There will be a dual operating mode, a mix of 100 percent foreign ownership and joint ventures. It will be based on the strategic importance to Abu Dhabi's GDP."

The entire financing for the industrial zone and port is by the Abu Dhabi government, ADPC's chief executive said. ADPC is the master developer and regulator of the ports and industrial zones.

Oil rich Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, is investing billions of dollars in industry, tourism, infrastructure and real estate to diversify its economy away from oil.

KIZAD is expected to contribute some 15 percent of Abu Dhabi's non oil GDP by 2030, said Salmeen, adding that about 60 to 80 percent of goods manufactured in the zone will be exported.

Strategic industries that are likely to be part of the zone are those in sectors such as aluminium, steel, petrochemicals, food, pharmaceuticals and others, said Tony Douglas, CEO of ADPC. The second phase of the industrial zone will start in 2013, he said, without elaborating.

When the Khalifa Port's first phase becomes operational in 2012, it will have capacity of two million containers and 9 million tones of cargo a year, four times higher than existing capacity at Abu Dhabi's main Mina Zayed port.

Vice president Salmeen: "There have already been significant expressions of interest from all over. We will be flexible and dynamic to adapt to investors coming into the zone."

He added, some 150,000 jobs will be created by 2030 there.

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