Sharjah 2016 | ECONOMY | FORUM

Sharjah offers a diversified range of opportunities for holding companies, especially those with experience and a more globalized perspective on local market conditions.

Ishaque Noor
Group Managing Director
Albatha Group

Sharjah has become even more encouraging and developed in terms of doing business in recent years. The Emirate is more open, resources are more readily available, and the government and Shurooq are helpful, making it a good place to do business. The industrial area where we are based has good infrastructure and we have the space and facilities to do well and expand. We are strong in healthcare, which is a growth sector, distributing 20% of the market's medicine and medical equipment in the UAE. We have a new joint venture with an international aerosol-packaging conglomerate from Europe and have also ventured into manufacturing confectionery and we now market biscuits and wafers in our own new brands, Glenda and Amara, apart from contract manufacturing for other international and local brands. Sharjah is investing in hard infrastructure and creating an even greater boost to the Emirate's economy. The government is working hard to put Sharjah on the regional and global business map.

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HE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Faisal Al Qassimi

When we established Manafa, we had a clear vision on how we would like to expand our asset portfolio in real estate, hospitality, and various investments. Today, we mainly focus on investments in real estate, capital markets, and private equity. With all what is happening in the market today, we are very particular about our investments. We have a successful track record and only invest in projects or industries that we believe in. We see potential in a particular business, enter the business, grow it, and then we exit at the right time and in line with our overall strategy. It is also about being at the right place at the right time. Today, our assets under management are in excess of USD1 billion. We have also specialized in offering serviced offices for businesses that want to establish themselves in the UAE and we invest in private equity companies and in capital markets, in the US and locally.

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AbdullaH Al Gurg
Group General Manager
Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group

The majority of our business focuses on the FMCG sector; for example, we have partnerships and joint ventures with blue chip brands such as Dunlop and Unilever. There has been healthy growth in the FMCG market, despite a change in the market dynamics. For instance, we had a very strong inflow of Russian tourists, which has now tilted towards more tourists from China and the Indian subcontinent. Market dynamics have changed in the retail and trade sector. This year it will be the manufacturing sector that faces the biggest challenges; with the drop in oil prices, raw materials have become much more expensive, and furthermore the fluctuations in steel prices is causing instability, especially with excessive dumping of steel from China, which is negatively affecting the building materials sector. There is a lot of potential in Sharjah and the rate of infrastructure development is phenomenal. There are numerous projects underway within the power, water and transport sectors.

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Muhammad Z. Asif
Group Managing Director
Ali Omran Al Owais Group

Our chairman was 21 when he established the company 30 years ago, and it has gone from strength to strength since. Today, we have 18 licenses with 14 companies, all of which complement one another. One of our businesses is construction dewatering and complementary to this we have aluminum cladding. We are ISO certified and follow a number of regulations. We also have a construction company, and a real estate holding. We are continuing to invest and expand the business. Aviation and travel are our main business and we have 30 years' experience in the UAE with connections with Syria, Sri Lanka, the US, and the UK, for example. At the moment, we have partnerships in Tanzania and are working with RwandAir, and we are also looking at partnering with airlines in Sri Lanka and Iran. Looking closer to home, through our Chinese cooperation we are able to distribute machinery and heavy equipment for hire, due to 2020 Expo infrastructure development.

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