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Sun 25 Jan 2009 12:57 PM

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Iraq pullout not to hit logistics firm Agility - paper

Gulf's biggest logistics firm says deals with government, including US army are below $1bn.

A possible US withdrawal from Iraq would not have a major impact on Kuwaiti logistics firm Agility because most of its contracts are commercial, its chairman said in remarks published on Sunday.

Tarek Sultan told Al Rai newspaper that "government contracts, which include the deals with the US army, do not exceed one billion dollars, in comparison with the five billion dollars of the firm's commercial sector activity".

Agility's contracts with the US army were not limited to Iraq and stretched to other areas such as Afghanistan and Germany, Sultan said, also mitigating the impact of any pullout.

Senior US officials said on Thursday the new administration of President Barak Obama had not yet decided whether to withdraw combat troops from Iraq in 16 months, as he promised during his election campaign.

Agility, the Gulf's biggest logistics firm, has spent billions of dollars on acquisitions in the past few years and now operates in 100 countries, according to its website.

The firm has bought a string of logistics companies in Asia and other emerging markets to reduce its dependence on US government deals to feed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Global Investment House expects Agility's fourth-quarter net profit to fall by 12.4 percent, according to a Reuters survey last month.

Sultan said the firm met its 2008 revenue target of seven billion dollars. (Reuters)

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