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Mon 12 Nov 2007 03:16 PM

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Emaar chief urges firms to go global

MEDIA & MKTING 2007: Mohammed Alabbar says regional companies in the Middle East should take on the world in business now

Now is the time for Middle East companies to go global, the chairman of Emaar announced delegates at the
Arabian Business

Media & Marketing show in Dubai on Monday.

Mohammed Alabbar, chairman of property giant Emaar that aims to become one of the most valuable companies in the world by 2010, urged regional companies that it was "their time" to take their businesses from local to global success stories.

"I believe it is our time to global. It is not our time alone and going global can be a scary and risky venture but the time is right and right now for the Middle East to push forwards."

He said that Emaar did not take the decision to expand overseas lightly and that taking the company public was "painful" but that with the right leadership and the right reasons "any Middle East company" could succeed in breaking into international markets.

"We did not go from a local to a global business because it was fashionable or because the competition was doing it, we did it for the right business reasons and because of the true opportunities that lay ahead," he explained.

"You have to be very passionate, understand your competition and the markets you are breaking into and you must be willing to take risks."

Emaar's total project portfolio is worth an estimated US$100bn including 60 companies with projects in 30 countries worldwide and a total landbank of 1bn square feet.

Alabbar revealed that the Emaar King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia had moved from an estimated cost of US$26bn to US$50bn with two million people expected to live there on completion.

Emaar also has projects in India (US$17bn), Egypt (US$6bn), Morocco, Jordan, Turkey and Syria where Alabbar admitted he sees "unbelievable potential".