By Andy Sambidge
Jebel Ali Free Zone operator says growth achieved despite continuing instability in region
Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the flagship free zone of Economic Zones World, said on Tuesday that more than 100 new companies started operations in the third quarter of 2012.
Of the new companies, 28 percent were from Europe, a statement said. It added that 23 percent were from the GCC, 22 percent were from Asia Pacific, 10 percent each from Americas and the Middle East and seven percent from Africa.
The largest number of new companies came from the UAE followed by India, United Kingdom, Germany, China, the United States, Egypt, Canada and France.
In Q3, 111 new companies joined Jafza, an increase of 32 percent compared to the same period in 2011.
Some of the biggest names that joined the Free Zone between July and September included Manuchar from Belgium, Fauchon Paris from France, Kotra from Korea, Cryogenic Industries from USA, Summit Construction Equipment and Komatsu DSO from Japan and Sinopec International from China.
At the end of September, Jafza was home to a total of 6,812 companies, the statement added.
In 2011 Jafza companies generated trade worth AED253bn accounting for more than a quarter of Dubai's total trade.
Jafza also accounted for almost half of the emirate's total exports and contributed more than 21 percent to Dubai's GDP on a year-to-year basis.
Ibrahim Mohamed Al Janahi, deputy CEO of Jafza, said: "Our continued qualitative growth, despite political instability in some parts of the region, reinforces the growing importance of the greater Middle East comprising West Asia, the CIS and Africa."
More than $4trn is planned to be invested in the development of economic infrastructure and public welfare projects in the region in the next 10 years.
"This will further boost investor interest in the region and Jafza as the regional hub," the statement added.
In September Jafza said that profit for the first half of the year fell 20 percent as higher financing costs more than offset a rise in revenue.
The company, which completed a three-pronged financing package to repay a $2bn-equivalent Islamic bond earlier this year, made a profit of AED212m ($57.72m), down from AED265m in the same period last year.