By Joanne Bladd
Statistics show revenue fell to $2.8bn in 2008, with DIFC’s public agencies hit hardest by decline
Companies in the Dubai International Financial Centre saw their combined revenue tumble by 2.4 percent in 2009 to $2.8bn, compared to the year before, the centre has said.
The “modest decline” in revenues during the peak of the global financial crash was testimony to the centre’s strength, the DIFC said in its Economic Activity 2009 report.
“[Revenues] demonstrated resilience in the throes of the great recession and the international financial crisis,” it said.
The report is based on a survey of 406 companies in the DIFC, representing about 57.5 percent of the centre’s licensed firms at the end of 2009.
The statistics reveal that revenues among the public agencies that oversee DIFC tumbled by 15.2 percent in 2009, while financial companies saw a decline of 8.8 percent.
The results “reflected a process of profound restructuring in DIFC Authority,” the report said.
Among the business sector - which includes accountants, law firms, restaurants and retailers – revenue increased by 24.8 percent.
DIFC was responsible for 3.8 percent of Dubai's 2009 GDP and 1.1 percent of the UAE's overall GDP, the report said.
The report comes just a day after media reports said Abu Dhabi was mulling a $1.5bn buyout of Dubai’s financial assets, to include DIFC and a 20 percent stake in the London Stock Exchange.
The proposed deal, reported by the Sunday Times, would see a merger of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange with the Dubai International Financial Centre and Borse Dubai, which owns the stake.
The governor of DIFC, Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer, on Monday denied the reports.
“There are no offers from Abu Dhabi,” Arabic daily al Bayan Al Tayer as saying. “There is nothing on offer to sell.”
DIFC last week announced a new sliding scale of rents for tenants that could see rates for some companies drop by as much as 50 percent.
Effective from January, the rents will run from AED160 to AED280 per square foot, depending on the size of the office and its location within DIFC.
“Given the financial crisis and the global migration of staff from one centre to another, we need to make sure that the environment is comfortable for companies to plan their growth,” said Abdulla Al Awar, CEO of the DIFC Authority.