Dubai Investments Sets Sights on Gulf Boom

Dubai Investments is thrusting into the Gulf's booming building materials industry as part of a strategy that will help the company shrug off tumbling stock markets, the chief executive said.

Khalid bin Kalban said that Dubai Investments expected net profits of 200-250m dirhams ($54-68m) in the second quarter, when share prices collapsed across the region. That would be growth of up to 26 per cent from the same period last year.

"That will give you an indication that we are not focused on one activity. It has not been easy. But it shows that our plan is working," he said in an interview earlier this week.

By contrast Gulf General Investment Co, another diversified holding company with investments in industry, tourism and real estate, posted a 35 per cent drop in first half net profit and blamed it on the stock market.

Dubai Investments is reorganising its holdings and expects at least three firms in its portfolio to go public over the next 18 months, including Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Co and Saudi International Petrochemical Co (SIPCHEM).

With 14 of its 35 companies in the building materials sector, Kalban said Dubai Investments was poised to ride the construction boom in the Gulf, where an estimated $1 trillion worth of projects are in the pipeline for the next decade.

"I am very positive that the construction industry is going to keep growing over the next seven years," he said.

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600450 Dubai Investments Sets Sights on Gulf Boom
Date: 11 July 2006

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