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Thu 10 Nov 2011 12:34 PM

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Real estate broker JLL says job cuts won’t hit MidEast

US-based firm restructured its local offices this year amid global economic woes

Real estate broker JLL says job cuts won’t hit MidEast
JLL has more than 100 staff across the Middle East and North Africa

Jones Lang LaSalle, the world’s second-largest publicly traded real-estate broker, said job cuts at its UK business are unlikely to spill over into its Middle East offices.

The Chicago-based company said Tuesday it would lay off a number of its 2,700 British workers after the European debt crisis crimped demand for some of its services.

JLL, which has more than 100 employees across the Middle East and North Africa, said it had no plans for regional redundancies but admitted its regional headcount had declined in recent months.

“You can never say never, but at the moment I do not anticipate making staff cuts in 2012,” said Alan Robertson, CEO of JLL in the Middle East and North Africa. “We have made a small number of staff cuts this year, by moving them to other parts of the business.

A number of international firms have trimmed staff numbers in the Middle East, as regional unrest and the sovereign debt crisis in Europe has prompted firms to cut costs.

“We have been going through a rebalancing process in order to reflect the realities of the market,” said Robertson. “The turbulent economic times have not been easy for anyone in the real estate sector, but I think we have coped reasonably well.”

The restructuring has also seen JLL hire staff in areas such property management, project management and valuations, Robertson said, to better match regional demand.

Real estate consultancies were badly hit by the collapse of Dubai’s real estate market, the Middle East’s fastest growing property industry from 2006 to 2008.

The once-booming emirate saw house prices slump by approximately 60 percent in the wake of the financial crisis, as banks curtailed lending and investors fled the market.

Arabian Business reported last month that Cushman & Wakefield had cut staff numbers in its Dubai office under a revamp that will see the property consultancy shift its focus to Bahrain.

The US headquartered firm, which has operated its regional headquarters from the emirate since 2008, is understood to have made several redundancies and seen a number of resignations.

UAE real estate purchases dropped by 44 percent to 1,459 in the third quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2010, CBRE said last month.

Globally, Jones Lang LaSalle shares fell 2.9 percent in composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, with shares down 38 cents to $64.34 at 12:36 pm.

The company’s revenue in the Europe, Middle East and Africa reached $247.3m in the three months to September, a 38 percent increase when compared with the same period a year earlier.

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