More international firms eyeing MidEast for expansion

New CBRE report says 30% of multi-national corporates have identified region as potential location over next two years
More international firms eyeing MidEast for expansion
By Andy Sambidge
Tue 28 Jan 2014 02:55 PM

The Middle East is growing in popularity as a destination for multi-national firms, according to a new survey by real estate advisor CBRE.

Amid improved global economic conditions, international companies are demonstrating an appetite to expand, with 30 percent of those surveyed identifying the Middle East as a potential destination over the next two years. 

CBRE's latest annual European Occupier Survey said the percentage of companies keen to enter the region was up from 24 percent in 2012.

The survey, now in its fourth year, polled corporate real estate decision makers at global corporations collectively occupying approximately 2.7 billion sq ft worldwide.

The survey showed that more than half of corporates (56 percent) name access to new markets and customers as the principal driver for location decisions.

When asked to identify where they intended to expand their operations, 48 percent named India (double the figure from 2012 at 24 percent), with China mentioned by 42 percent, down from 60 percent in 2012.

There was also a significant increase in the number of corporates intending to expand into Africa.

Nick Maclean, managing director, CBRE Middle East, said: “The Middle East is witnessing strong economic and population growth which represents significant investment opportunities for global businesses.

"Dubai being the region’s commercial and tourism hub remains a focal point in the Middle East and a destination of choice for global corporates looking to expand into this region or the lucrative African market.

"The World Expo 2020 announcement in November last year has further fuelled this positive sentiment and over the period of next six years we will see real estate assets exhibiting strong growth and development.”

The survey also showed corporates’ increased confidence in the economic recovery, with less than half (46 percent) identifying weak economies as a concern.

In 2012, the overwhelming majority (70 percent) reported that the uncertain economic outlook in Europe was a key factor in their real estate strategy, with cost management being the primary objective. 

Mark Caskey, EMEA head of Global Corporate Services, at CBRE added: “As we move into a phase of economic recovery it is clear that occupiers are beginning to look beyond pure cost saving initiatives. In the near term we expect a broad cost saving attitude to prevail, however, it is encouraging that corporates are seeking out new target destinations and adopting increasingly sophisticated workplace strategies.”

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