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Fri 22 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

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From the West to the Middle East

German companies are making a splash in key sectors in the UAE, and across the Gulf.

Arabian Business reports on the German companies already making a splash in key sectors in the UAE, and across the Gulf region.


It's impossible to ignore the region's love affair with German cars - and, in particular, the Porsche. We just can't get enough. With a 20% increase in total sales of 5,330 cars in 2007 over the previous year's 4,419 units, the figures say it all.

In fiscal year 2007, the sales of all consolidated Siemens companies in the region amounted to US$2.75bn.

Porsche Middle East and Africa (MEA) celebrated its fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth in 2007.

The new Porsche Cayenne maintained the charge of its forebear after several successful regional launch events. With a total of 3,467 units sold last year, compared to the previous financial year's 3006 vehicles, this resulted in an increase of 15%.

Among the sport cars, the Boxster, Cayman and 911 models all showed a growing demand. The Boxster and Cayman models totalled 663 units, representing an 8.6% increase. Meanwhile, by shifting 1195 unit sales from the 911 range, Porsche MEA demonstrated growth of 60%.

Cayman S sales increased to 416 units last year - a rise of nearly 23% on the previous year. However, the firm says the greatest success came with the latest 911 Turbo model, of which 397 units were sold in the last financial year; more than the total amount of the last four years put together (386 units).

‘For eight years in a row we have surpassed expectations, and much of this is down to the ongoing support and dedication of our regional partners," said Deesch Papke, managing director of Porsche MEA.

"We have enjoyed strong results in the Middle East region since its establishment, and the future looks equally bright, particularly with several new products set for release in the coming years."

On a global scale, too, Porsche has registered success. According to recently released figures, sales were up 0.7% over the previous year's figure, to 97,515 cars.

Meanwhile, Porsche is preparing for a new year of sales and releases, and the most recent product news is that the Boxster RS 60 Spyder was unveiled this month at the Bologna Motor Show.

In its colour, design, features and philosophy, this new roadster brings back memories of Porsche's golden motorsport era of the ‘60s, and most notably echoes the Porsche Type 718 RS 60 Spyder of 1960, which will take on competitors in larger engine categories.

This special edition new Boxster will be limited to 1960 units, and will be available in the Middle East from March this year.

With ongoing penetration into new markets, and a new model range that includes the 911 Turbo Cabriolet, the Cayenne GTS, the 911 GT2 and the Cayman S ‘Porsche Design Edition 1', expectations are high.

Porsche cars are in increasing demand in rapidly growing markets like the Middle East, and the Stuttgart carmaker expects its next major boost in growth to come in 2009, when the four-door Panamera ‘Gran Turismo' is launched.


Siemens has a long-standing presence in the Lower Gulf region. It is currently represented by four regional companies that are based in United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman.

The company is also active in neighbouring Yemen, which completes the Lower Gulf territory.

One of the largest employers in the region, Siemens has a workforce of about 1500 employees that hail from 58 countries across the globe.

In fiscal year 2007, the sales of all consolidated Siemens companies in the region amounted to US$2.75bn.

In this region, solutions from Siemens are visible in the sectors of energy, industrial automation and building infrastructure, telecoms, IT and healthcare.
Most recently, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) won a US$935m order for a mobile network in Saudi Arabia, the firms said in January, while US Motorola will deliver a smaller share of the deal.

"It's a very sizeable deal," said eQ analyst Jari Honko. "It's the largest deal in the nine-month history of Nokia Siemens."

In Riyadh, Deutsche Bank is one of the very few institutions that has been permitted to operate under a 100% foreign-owned universal banking licence.

NSN and Motorola won the deal awarded by Kuwait's Zain telecom operator to build the whole second and third generation wireless networks in Saudi Arabia, from Ericsson and China's Huawei Technologies.

The 50-50 joint venture said it would also deliver managed services to Zain's Saudi affiliate over five years.

In further testament to Germany's growing business relationship with the Middle East, Fujitsu Siemens has just launched a Jebel Ali Free Zone assembly facility.

The IT vendor has partnered with PWC Logistics to set up the assembly plant, which is capable of producing 100,000 business desktop PCs a year. The company had also considered locating the assembly facility in Egypt before eventually deciding on the UAE.

"We have been thinking about this for one year," said Bernd Bischoff, president and CEO at Fujitsu Siemens.

"The decision was finally taken for Dubai as the Egyptian government had been pulling back - so there was a little delay. But I think it is not too late; it is a good time to start here and we are optimistic that it will help us to continue our good growth in this region."

The Middle East also hosts its wholly owned subsidiary Osram in the region, Siemens Home and Office Communication Devices and a dedicated business centre for oil and gas.

Three joint ventures of the company - Nokia Siemens Networks, Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Bosch Siemens Hausgeräte - also have offices in this region.

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank has a long history in the region, having established its first branch in 1909. And in Riyadh, Deutsche Bank is one of the very few institutions that have been permitted to operate under a 100% foreign-owned universal banking licence.

The bank has also entered into a joint venture with Al Azizia Commercial Investment Company in Saudi Arabia.

The Middle East plays a significant role in Deutsche Bank's business, especially in the transaction banking sector.

The money and trade flows, which were initially directed towards North America and Europe, are now moving between Asia, South America, Eastern Europe (including Russia) and the Middle East.

This includes both oil and non-oil related trade and transaction business.

"The region is becoming a hub for trade and payment. The capital available is looking for investments which are made in the region, and this has resulted in an increase in capital flows within the region.

As a transaction bank we would like to participate in this wealth generation," said Reinhard E Uhl, managing director, head of trade finance and cash management corporates, Deutsche Bank AG.

During the past two years the Trust and Securities Services (TSS) Group at Deutsche Bank has provided trustee and administration services on a wide range of debt structures for banks and corporates in the Middle East.

"The increase year on year in respect of new transactions originating from the region has been very encouraging. We are providing administrative services for an increasing number of clients on facilities such as syndicated loans, project financings, Sukuk and corporate bonds," said Andrew Leamon, regional head of new business for the debt services group.

The TSS business also provides depositary bank services for American Depositary Receipts and securities custody in 27 markets around the world.

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