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Sat 21 Oct 2006 12:00 AM

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Software AG centres on Bahrain

SOA firm plans US$62.3m facility in Kingdom

Service-oriented archite-cture (SOA) firm Software AG is investing around US$62.3 million in a regional research and development (R&D) centre in Bahrain to drive expansion plans across the Middle East.

The facility is expected to be up and running by the end of the year, although it is not clear how many people it will employ or what specific technology it will be producing.

Software AG already has its regional headquarters based in the Kingdom, as well as satellite offices in Saudi Arabia.

Mohammed Al Fardan, Software AG’s general manager for the Gulf region, said the centre was just the first of many investments in all major countries across the Middle East to strengthen the company’s regional presence.

“Software AG with its unparallelled product line-up feels that Bahrain being the banking and financial hub and one of the most vibrant economies in the region has emerged as a natural choice for the centre,” Al Fardan told a local newspaper.

“The political and economic stability is another major attraction for an established global company to make investments in Bahrain and Software AG will use the Kingdom as a hub to reach out to other potential countries and clients,” he added.

Karl-Heinz Streibich, CEO of Software AG, told IT Weekly back in May that the firm was to “substantially” increase its focus on the region in order to capitalise on the huge potential the Middle East had to offer, including the establishment of a software development centre.

Streibich said in addition to driving new business opportunities among the company’s existing user base — which comprises government, police and defence forces and the airline sector — projected new business growth would necessitate the establishment of new offices throughout the region and the expansion of its channel partner network.

“The Middle East is one of the fastest-growing markets and holds out high potential for Software AG as well,” he said.

“To optimally harness this growth we at Software AG have taken a strategic decision to substantially enhance our focus in the region.”

“Though we are currently in the process of finalising our Middle East expansion strategy, key components would include the opening of new offices and a region-specific dedicated software development centre,” Streibich added.

Bahrain has been making a major push to entice IT firms to set up in the Kingdom and is becoming a popular choice for companies looking at locations to base R&D or manufacturing centres.

Newly-created Saudi computer firm Ensyab announced at the end of August it would establish a manufacturing plant in the Kingdom producing PCs for the Middle East and international markets.

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