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Tue 14 Apr 2009 05:08 PM

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French firm eyes ME business amid downturn

Billiards table maker aims to boost sales in region, open showroom in Dubai later in 2009.

Middle East socialites used to splashing out on luxury yachts and cars have curbed their spending following the financial fallout, a French businessman has claimed.

Christophe Chevillotte, vice president of billiards table manufacturer Chevillotte, said that his company’s high-end customers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are “no longer spending millions” to supplement their lavish lifestyles.

He added the drop in spending has led to increased demand for less luxurious goods, such as pool and billiards tables.

“A pool table is not the first thing you want if you’re very wealthy because people like to have the ‘show aspect’ of owning a yacht or a big house,” Chevillotte said. “The pool table isn’t the first thing they think of because it isn’t a show-off product. But people can still afford pool tables, which are much cheaper.”

Chevillotte said he hoped to sell around 36 billiards and pool tables, or three a month, at 10,000 euros ($13,262) to Middle East customers this year.  

According to Chevillotte, the company is launching a showroom in Dubai later this year having sold its products to Middle East customers since 1999.

The French family business was created in 1860 by Chevillotte’s great grandfather. It originally sold tables to pubs and cafes in France before branching out internationally in the 1970s.

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