Sunday, May 31, 2009

Abraaj Capital Opens Saudi Office, Sees Growth Opportunities

Riyadh, May 31, 2009: Dubai-based private equity group Abraaj Capital, which has raised about US$ 7 billion since inception in 2002, announced today the opening of its office in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh with a dedicated investment team to tap growing opportunities in the largest Arab economy.

The team of eight, headed by Executive Director Sari Anabtawi, 46, will work to identify new investment opportunities as well as work with existing Abraaj partner-companies to grow their business in Saudi Arabia and the region.

The office is Abraaj’s fourth outside the United Arab Emirates as the company expands across its investment region; the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). The US$ 465 billion economy of Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has been growing at an average 4 per cent per year for the last five years, driven in part by a private sector that has reaped the benefit of increasingly business friendly government policies.

"As the largest Arab economy and the centre of the energy world, Saudi Arabia offers substantial investment opportunities," said Amr Dabbagh, Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, which licensed Abraaj Saudi Arabia Ltd.

"The economy is more competitive than ever. In ‘ease of doing business’, the World Bank ranks Saudi Arabia 1st in the region. In many areas of the economy demand outweighs supply, while the kingdom's fiscal position is very strong," Mr. Dabbagh said.

The World Bank last year ranked Saudi Arabia 16th in the world for ’ease of doing business’, up eight places compared with 2007. The ranking of 181 economies includes measures such as ease of starting a business, dealing with construction permits and protecting investors.

“The opportunities to invest in Saudi Arabia are immense given the kingdom's position in the MENA region and its relative insulation from the global economic downturn," said Arif Naqvi, Abraaj’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Whether in transportation, logistics, food, healthcare or education, demand is growing and under-served in terms of existing supply, driven by population expansion and fresh government policies that encourage private investment."

Abraaj, which last year distributed US$ 1.6 billion to investors, is no stranger to Saudi Arabia. Its chairman is Sheikh Abdulrahman Ali al-Turki, one of the kingdom’s most prominent businessmen and owner of ATCO Group.

Abraaj group executives have worked in Saudi Arabia since the 1990s. In 2005, Saudi investors of Abraaj bought a stake in National Air Services (NAS), helping it secure the kingdom’s first private passenger-airline license. They sold the stake last year, generating an internal rate of return of 52 per cent.

“Many of our investors come from Saudi Arabia,” said Sari Anabtawi, who brings 20 years of banking and finance experience to his role, including with Morgan Stanley & Co. and Standard Bank, Africa’s largest lender. “They have long been loyal to us and we are loyal to them. Keeping them constantly updated in these challenging times and aware of the opportunities is integral to our business.”

Through its funds, Abraaj holds stakes in more than 25 companies in the MENASA region, including Tadawi, Saudi Arabia’s largest pharmaceutical wholesaler and retailer; Air Arabia, the Middle East’s largest low-cost carrier; Acibadem, Turkey’s biggest operator of premium hospitals; and Al Borg Laboratory, the Middle East’s biggest medical-testing laboratory company.

“One of our key priorities is to help our partner companies, like Tadawi and Al Borg, expand in their home countries and across the region to take advantage of the many cultural and demographic similarities and synergies,” said Mr. Naqvi. “We help bring strategic direction, operational expertise and the benefits of a deep, regional network of business contacts to our partners, with the long-term aim of unlocking value.”

DM observes World No Tobacco Day

Dubai Municipality on Sunday observed World No Tobacco Day, which falls on May 31, with a wide variety of activities in the main building as well as the branch offices of the Municipality and the public libraries. Eng. Redha Salman, Director of Public Health and Safety Department inaugurated the activities at the main building.
An exhibition was organized by the Clinic and Community Health Section of the Public Health Services Department with the cooperation of the Corporate Marketing and Relations Department in the reception area of the new block near the customer service centre explaining how smoking affects different organs of the human beings. It also shows the difference between the normal lunges and the diseased one with a different colour. This lung of the smoker cannot expand like the ordinary one. Tar collected in a jar shows how much tar goes to lungs if a person smokes 10 cigarettes a day for a period of one month. The exhibition also shows how much smoking affects the mouth.
Models of organs affected by lung cancer, kidney cancer, myocardial infarction, laryngeal cancer and atherosclerosis were displayed.
Zuhoor Al Sabbagh, Director of Public Health Services Department said the campaign aims to educate the public about the hazards of smoking and its negative impacts on the individual as well as the society.
"The campaign is mainly aimed at youth as most of the people start smoking at an early age. The campaign focuses on the importance of healthy life style," she said.
Al Sabbagh said the campaign also highlights the efforts of the Municipality in providing free treatment to the employees who are smokers and following them up until they quit smoking.
Nusaiba Hassan Qaid, Head of Clinic and Community Health Section said the No Tobacco Day campaign will continue through out the month of June and after the summer it will be spread to the schools in the emirate.
In addition to the exhibition, visitors to the Municipality on Sunday were subjected to tests using Spiro metre to measure the lung function to see the level of carbon monoxide.
People who register their names at this counter are offered treatment at Rashid Hospital, the Ministry of Health clinics and the Municipality clinic, said Dr. Mohammed Mutawalli of the Clinic and Community Health Section.
Tests are also conducted to see how much breathing is affected due to smoking. This helps to know if the smoker is affected with any of the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD).
Al Twar Public Library organized a lecture titled, "Smoking hazards and ways to quit smoking."
The no-smoking campaign will continued to be held throughout the month of June at the different branch centres of the Municipality, other government departments, private companies and shopping malls. In the next phase in October, the campaign will be taken to schools, colleges and universities.
The campaign also includes organizing online competitions for Municipality employees and sporting activities, in addition to mobile medical exhibition for conducting free tests, spreading the message through advertisements in newspapers, posters, roll ups and brochures.

Emirates Airline Sends Off First Set Of UAE Pavilion Volunteers To The 2009 Venice Biennale

DUBAI, U.A.E., 31st May, 2009- Emirates airline, in partnership with the UAE Pavilion for the Venice Biennale, sent off the first set of volunteers to Venice, Italy on 31 May 2009.

Volunteers will participate in the UAE’s first national pavilion at the international Venice Biennale, a major international exhibition, showcasing the contemporary art of more than 70 countries and expected to host over 900, 000 visitors. Once there, the volunteers will serve as gallery managers and assistants in the UAE Pavilion. The exhibition will take place June 7-November 22 in Venice, Italy.

The UAE’s national pavilion will be titled “It’s Not You, It’s Me,”- a playful and provocative look at the world’s most prestigious contemporary art event.

The sendoff of this first set of volunteers marks the beginning of many sets of volunteers who will travel to Venice; all coordinated by donations of Emirates airline.

“The Volunteer programme is a critical part of how we showcase the up coming talent of the contemporary art, design and architecture of the UAE. The pavilion will be a place at which international visitors can take away with them a unique experience of interacting with UAE nationals or residents; these volunteers are our ambassadors and the custodians of their very first national pavilion,” said Dr Lamees Hamdan, Commissioner of the UAE Pavilion.

“We are delighted to have Emirates airline be our partners and enable us to fly our volunteers to Venice. We have a programme that will run from late May through to November 2009 and this support is invaluable to our programme.”

“Emirates is delighted to sponsor the UAE Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Emirates has always been committed to working closely with our local UAE community and we are honored to be able to coordinate the travel of the many volunteers involved, helping to fulfill their dreams of working at this prominent cultural event. The UAE Pavilion is an important initiative and we look forward to further extending our partnership in the future,” said Sami Aqil Abdulla, Vice President Airports Services at Emirates Terminal 3.

Initiated and supported by His Excellency Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the UAE Pavilion is being developed and presented under the leadership of its Commissioner, Dr. Lamees Hamdan, a member of the Board of Directors of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Serving as curator for the UAE Pavilion is Tirdad Zolghadr, an internationally respected curator, critic, professor and filmmaker.

A high-level delegation from the UAE comprising His Excellency Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Omar bin Sulaiman, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre, Paolo Dionisi, the Italian Ambassador to the UAE and his wife Tala Slim Dionisi and number of distinguished persons will also travel with Emirates later this week to participate in the UAE’s first national pavilion. In all, there will be 62 volunteers travelling and represent the UAE at the event.

Built in a large and prominent location in the Arsenale, one of the two main areas of the Venice Biennale—the UAE Pavilion will combine scenographic elements and architectural design by the partnership of Rami Farook (founder of the UAE’s Traffic design gallery) and the Belgian architectural collective D’haeseleer & Kimpe & Poelaert, known for its collaborations with visual artists.

The UAE Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is initiated by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, and is supported by the Emirates Foundation and the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (DCAA).

DED and DTMFZA sign agreement to facilitate licensing procedures for investors

Dubai, May 31, 2009: The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) and The Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (DTMFZA) have signed a co-operation agreement to facilitate licensing procedures and provide a stronger growth-environment for investors in Dubai.

As per the agreement, DED will open a new branch in DTMFZA to issue licenses, business registration services and save trade names for companies and corporations that are planning to do businesses in the emirate.

This initiative is aimed at enhancing the business diversity within Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone by increasing geographical proximity between clients and service providers. It will contribute to adding more amenities and facilities to complement the lifestyle and operational requirements of the community, besides generating more business opportunities.

His Excellency Mr Sami Al Qamzi, Director General, DED, and His Excellency Ahmad Bin Byat, Director General, DTMFZA, signed the agreement. Officials from DED and DTMFZA attended the signing ceremony held, recently, at DED headquarters in Deira.

“The agreement with DTMFZA comes in line with DED’s objective to enhance the performance of Dubai’s business sector. The Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority is one of the strong growth drivers of the Emirate’s economy and the new partnership will further enable investors to complete business initiation procedures swiftly,” said Mr Al Qamzi.

“DED will coordinate with concerned local and federal government bodies and encourage them to establish their branches within DTMFZA and assign staff members to offer comprehensive services to investors looking to set up new businesses. DED will also coordinate with DTMFZA to use DED’s data licensing and business registration system to review data and information related to all licenses,” added Sami.

His Excellency Mr Bin Byat said: “The agreement plays a vital role in further strengthening the growth of the business sector in Dubai in line with the Dubai Government’s strategy. It will also contribute to providing a business-friendly environment – a key factor for the success of Dubai”.

“DTMFZA is committed to cooperate with concerned government departments such as DED to attract investment and encourage trade and economic motion at all levels,” added Mr Bin Byat.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Emaar strengthens ‘Rent To Own’ portfolio

Dubai, UAE; May 28, 2009: Emaar Properties has unveiled a new portfolio of homes in its Rent to Own scheme within the Downtown Burj Dubai community. Customers can lease the ready-to-live-in residences for one year before making a purchase option, with the entire rent for the first year going towards the down payment. They can renew the rental lease if they do not decide to purchase the home after one year.

The Rent to Own scheme, launched by Emaar in November 2008, has gained strong response from customers, who benefit from the convenience of staying in a home of their choice for one year before making a purchase decision. With the entire rent of the year going towards down payment, the scheme also presented a financially beneficial option.

The residences showcased as part of the programme are located in the residential clusters of The Old Town, Old Town Island, South Ridge and The Residences, all established communities with an array of lifestyle amenities. South Ridge and The Residences are impressive high-rise towers while The Old Town and Old Town Island feature elegant Arabesque architectural features.

All the homes have upgraded finishes and offer prime views of the 500-acre Downtown Burj Dubai, described as the new heart of the city. The newly released units include one- to five-bedroom apartments with either large terraces or balconies. The Old Town, Old Town Island, The Residences and South Ridge are all centrally located in Downtown Burj Dubai.

Mr Ahmad Al Matrooshi, Managing Director – UAE, Emaar Properties, said new units are being included in the scheme following the strong customer response to the programme. “The diverse collection of newly released units offers customers the convenient option to own a home in one of Dubai’s most sought-after communities after experiencing the lifestyle differential for one year.”

A must-visit attraction for tourists and offering an unparalleled lifestyle choice for residents, Downtown Burj Dubai is the newest social and commercial hub of Dubai featuring world-class hotels, shopping malls and several globally renowned landmarks.

All homes offered as part of the Rent to Own scheme are near Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building, and residents only need to take a short stroll to watch The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain and a spectacle that performs to popular Arabic and World music.

The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, is also in close proximity to the four residential clusters. The mall, with 1,200 retail stores and 160 F&B outlets, has several leisure choices including Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo with 33,000 aquatic animals; the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink and The Waterfall, a spectacular water feature that traverses four levels of the mall.

Residents also have easy access to Souk Al Bahar, a modern shopping and F&B destination designed in Arabesque fashion. Downtown Burj Dubai already has four premium hotels – The Address Downtown Burj Dubai, The Palace – The Old Town, Al Manzil and Qamardeen. Another huge draw in the community is the Emaar Boulevard, one of the world’s finest boulevards that recently hosted the first-ever Burj Dubai Classic Car Show.

“With the opening of The Dubai Mall and the addition of leisure attractions such as The Dubai Fountain and Emaar Boulevard, visitor traffic to Downtown Burj Dubai has increased considerably. This has further driven rental demand in the community,” said Mr Matrooshi.

Emaar is showcasing three model homes for customers to make an informed rental decision after evaluating the finishes and amenities. They can also visit the Emaar Sales Centre at Emaar Square or call toll-free 800-EMAAR (36227) for more details.

Downtown Burj Dubai can be easily accessed from Sheikh Zayed Road and Financial Centre Road (Doha Street) and offers easy access to the financial nerve-centres of the city.

14 dazzling performances of The Dubai Fountain daily

Dubai, UAE; May 28, 2009: The Dubai Mall Waterfront Promenade attracts thousands of visitors daily for the dazzling performances of The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest-performing fountain. Starting from 6pm, there are 14 daily performances until 11pm.

The Dubai Fountain currently performs six songs at varying intervals including ‘Sama Dubai,’ the tribute of Emaar Properties to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. ‘Sama Dubai’ describes the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and marks the first time that an Emirati song has been choreographed for a fountain.

The other songs to which the fountain sways in perfect sync are ‘Dhoom Thana,’ a super-hit Hindi film song from the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Om Shanti Om;’ ‘Baba Yetu,’ an award-winning song in Swahili composed by Christopher Tin for the computer game ‘Civilization IV;’ the Arab world’s top-selling dance number ‘Shik Shak Shok’ by Hassan Abou El Seoud; and the signature piece of world-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, ‘Con te partiro’ (Time to Say Goodbye).

Mr Nasser Rafi, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Malls Group, said: “As Dubai’s newest tourist attraction, The Dubai Fountain continues to draw thousands of people every week to The Dubai Mall Waterfront Promenade. The timing of the fountain’s performance has been managed to enable visitors to stroll through the mall and return for repeat viewings.”

The fountain performance starts at 6pm with performances every half-hour until 8pm. Between 8pm and 11pm, music-water displays occur every 20 minutes. Located on Burj Dubai Lake, the world’s tallest performing fountain shoots water jets as high as 500 ft (150 metres), equivalent to that of a 50-storey building.

The Dubai Fountain is 900 ft (275 metres) long and has five circles of varying sizes and two central arcs. It has been designed by California-based WET, the creators of the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas. Over 6,600 WET Superlights – the most advanced incandescent large fountain lights available today – and 25 colour projectors create a visual spectrum of over 1,000 abstract attractions.

The Dubai Mall hosts 3 million visitors over month-long shopping festival

Dubai, UAE; May 28, 2009: The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, hosted three million visitors over the one-month long shopping and entertainment extravaganza, which concludes today (Friday, May 29, 2009). Festival@The Dubai Mall attracted more than 750,000 visitors every week, strengthening sales across the mall’s 900 retail and F&B outlets.

Marking the formal opening of the mall by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the Festival@The Dubai Mall offered a diverse bouquet of bargain deals on global brands, ‘Win Millions’ raffles, Bid 2 Win auctions for premium products, a Grand Bentley draw and mall-wide entertainment. One of the spectacular attractions during the festival was the unveiling of The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain.

Today (May 29, 2009), one lucky winner will get AED 1 million in cash prize at the ‘Win Millions’ raffle. The Grand Bentley draw for the luxurious, four-door Bentley Continental Flying Spur will also be held, adding to the prize bonanzas offered on the final day. The mall will come alive to a spectacular display of entertainment as several performers come together for a grand finale. Apart from daily entertainment programmes, the mall has also hosted more than 100 fashion shows during the festival at the newly inaugurated Fashion Catwalk at the Fashion Avenue.

Mr Nasser Rafi, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Malls Group, said: “We have achieved the objectives of hosting the Festival@The Dubai Mall, which were to enhance visitors and strengthen sales at our retail outlets. To draw over 3 million visitors in one month is a testament to the success of the mall as well as the city’s global reputation as a premier tourist destination.”

He added: “The Festival@The Dubai Mall has been a confidence booster for the economy, and offered customers a perfect continuum of shopping and entertainment spectacles from Dubai Shopping Festival to the Dubai Summer Surprises, which will start shortly. We are thankful to all our partners for their support, particularly to the Dubai Shopping Festival Office.”

With a total cash prize of AED 3.1 million apart, The Festival@The Dubai Mall has set a new benchmark in mall-wide entertainment with the spectacular array of leisure attractions. The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, a popular attraction at the mall, introduced Shark Dives for the adventurous, offering the opportunity to dive into the 11 metre deep aquarium and surf the waters with sand tiger sharks and rays. The Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink introduced ‘Disco on Ice’ with an in-house DJ belting out popular music and the Fashion Catwalk was abuzz with haute couture events.

The Festival@The Dubai Mall is supported by Dubai Media Inc, Arab Media Group and The Address Hotels + Resorts, a part of Emaar Hospitality Group.


The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), in cooperation with the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) Office, will host a series of workshops to promote the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS-2009) in three GCC states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar from June 1 to 10.

The workshops attracted 39 co-participants from Dubai’s hotels and tourism companies. The workshops will facilitate networking with the GCC travel trade industry and media and also allow them the opportunity to learn about various promotions and attractions planned for the summer holidays from June to August.

The workshop series will kick off in Kuwait on June 1 followed by Doha on June 3 and Jeddah on June 6. It will be held in Riyadh on June 8 and conclude on June 10 in Al Khobar.

The workshops will be attended by DTCM officials, including Mr. Saleh Al Geziry, Director Overseas Promotions, Mr. Talal Al Suwaidi, Head of India, Middle East and North Africa Region, Overseas Promotions Department, and Mr. Nayef Ibrahim, Head of Australia and Asia, Overseas Promotions Department.

The department organized a pre-event meeting for the co-participants of the road shows to brief them about its efforts to boost hotel occupancies and visitors’ numbers to the emirate during the summer season.

The department will also organize Press conferences in the three GCC countries along side the workshops to create awareness about the DSS and other summer season-linked promotions and initiatives.

DSS, the region’s biggest and most awaited summer shopping and entertainment event, unveiled a series of exciting activities for the twelfth edition, under the slogan ‘Surprising Dubai’. The DSS Office announced 13 key sponsors for the DSS-2009. With a budget of AED70m, DSS 2009 will go on for 65 days, from June 11 till August 14 under the slogan 'Surprising Dubai'.

Emirates commits further to India; Dubai-based airline to add 22 weekly flights

DUBAI, U.A.E, 28th May 2009 – Emirates airline announces a further expansion of its India operation as India propels itself to become one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation industries encouraged by a liberalization of its skies.

The Dubai-based airline will add 22 weekly flights as a support for the Indian government’s ambitious growth plan to attract 100 million travellers in 2010. The existing service of 163 flights per week to 10 Indian gateways will be strengthened to 185 over the summer and winter periods. High demand routes - Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram - will be the chief beneficiaries.

Underlying Emirates’ continued investment in India, the airline’s expansion programme closely follows its ‘Journey through India’ campaign which involved a major revamp of the inflight product to meet regional preferences of India’s diverse populace.

Majid Al Mualla, Emirates’ Vice President, Commercial Operations West Asia and Indian Ocean said: “The global slowdown is not over yet, but the outlook for the future is showing signs of improvement. When traditional European markets dried up, India was quick to refocus its trade and marketing efforts in targeting regions not severely affected by the economic downturn such as the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. Emirates has a robust global network spanning over 100 cities in more than 60 countries and is well-placed to connect India to the world.

“Already, Emirates is witnessing a surge in the number of Middle East travellers seeking medical tourism options in India, given the favourable exchange rate and world-class facilities available.”

Emirates will serve Ahmedabad with a double-daily operation, adding six weekly flights to its existing eight-flights-a-week service. The expansion will be undertaken in a phased manner with three flights added on 2nd June and another three on 26th October. Pharmaceutical exports will receive a major impetus as the cargo capacity on the route will increase to 236 tonnes per week per direction.

Emirates’ Chennai service will become a triple-daily with the addition of two flights between October and December this year, making Emirates the largest international carrier to operate from the city. Cargo exports from the city take the form of textiles, garments, electrical and electronic goods, machinery and spares, leather products, pharmaceuticals, perishables, valuables and mobile phones. The enhanced cargo capacity of 343 tonnes per week per direction will increase the city’s export potential to Europe, America, Africa and the Middle East.

Kolkata is a key gateway for business and leisure travellers from the Middle East and Europe seeking easier passage to North-East India. Emirates will enhance connectivity to the city with five additional flights from 3rd December, bringing its total frequency to 12 per week. Export of fresh fruits, vegetables, jute, leather, silk and tea will benefit from an improved cargo capacity of 190 tonnes per week per direction.

Kozhikode – a port city in the Indian state of Kerala – has been frequented by Middle East traders as early as the seventh century. The airline will further strengthen its Dubai - Kozhikode connection by adding five flights from 2nd December. Post expansion Emirates will operate 11 flights offering 157 tonnes of belly-cargo capacity per week per direction.

Thiruvananthapuram is known for its beach resorts, famous backwaters, and close proximity to neighbouring hill-stations and world heritage sites. Emirates will boost its access to this tourist gateway with the introduction of four additional flights between October and December, bringing its total frequency to the city to 12 flights a week.

With increases allocated to Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, Emirates will serve the South Indian state of Kerala with 37 weekly flights, boosting the inbound tourism potential for the picturesque state.

ICD CEO urges Dubai firms to uphold highest standards of corporate governance

Dubai, May 28, 2009: H.E. Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the investment arm of the Government of Dubai, today urged companies based in the emirate to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance.

He made these remarks today at the first ICD Finance Conference: Risk and Corporate Governance, which brought together more than 150 senior executives from ICD portfolio companies, and senior officials from the Government Departments which include Dubai Department of Finance and Dubai Department of Economic Development.

The one-day event was held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates Group and Board Director of ICD, who attended the conference today. It is the first in a series of such events organised by ICD to encourage dialogue and best practice amongst the organisation’s portfolio companies.

In a series of presentations and interactive workshops, internationally recognised speakers, senior ICD executives and representatives of Ernst & Young examined a range of critical issues related to the larger theme of corporate governance and risk management. Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics at the London Business School and an expert on fiscal and monetary policy, provided a special address on the future outlook for the global economy.

“The theme of the first ICD conference – risk and corporate governance – was chosen in response to the unprecedented challenges facing the world today. This event is in line with ICD’s goal of continuously improving the standards of governance and risk management within its group of companies by sharing knowledge, experiences and best practices,” said Mr. Abdulaziz Al Muhairi, Managing Director of ICD.

“Now more than ever, it is critical to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance and effectively manage risk,” he said. “There is a clear correlation between good governance, investor confidence and corporate profitability. Embracing global best practices will therefore continue to yield clear benefits for all the companies represented here today – and for the emirate as a whole.”

Among the ICD portfolio companies and related organisations that participated in the event were: Emirates Group and Dnata Travel Services, Emirates NBD, Emirates National Oil Co., Dubai Aluminium Co. Ltd., Borse Dubai, Emaar Properties, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai Airport Freezone, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Dubai Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Dubai Cable Co. Ltd., Dubai Department of Civil Aviation, Dubai Department of Finance, Emirates Investment & Development, Galadari Brothers Co., National Bonds Corp., and Noor Islamic Bank, among others.


Dubai, UAE; May 28, 2009: GE today announced that it has surpassed its first ecomagination goal to reduce its own greenhouse gas intensity, and is making progress against its other goals for revenue growth, water and technology innovation.

In 2005 GE made a series of ecomagination commitments to be achieved sequentially in the years 2008, 2010 and 2012. The first commitment was to reduce its operational greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity 30% in 2008. The Company surpassed this goal by reducing GHG intensity 41%. Greenhouse gas intensity is the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to Company revenue. GE also has reduced its absolute GHG emissions 13% and improved its energy efficiency 37% since 2005, keeping on track to meet its 2012 operational commitments in these areas.

With the release of the 2008 ecomagination annual report, GE also announced that it increased its portfolio of ecomagination products and services by one-third, to 80; grew revenues of ecomagination offerings 21%, to $17 billion; and increased its investment in the research and development of clean tech solutions 27%, to $1.4 billion.

"Leading by example is the essence of ecomagination," said Steve Fludder, vice president and leader of ecomagination at GE. “When we made a series of bold commitments at the outset, we felt a commitment to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions was the best way to demonstrate that leadership. If we are proposing that customers around the world use GE solutions to reduce their emissions, then we should do the same. We set our first ecomagination goal to achieve at least a 30% reduction in our own GHG intensity for 2008 in order to show our progress, before our 2010 target on revenues from ecomagination sales to our customers.”

GE surpassed its first ecomagination commitment by transforming its own operations while using its own products, and saving money at the same time. GE is seeing strong interest and similar impact with its customers across all industries to deploy ecomagination products and services.

GE was able to achieve its first GHG-related commitment by migrating to less GHG-intensive fuels, utilization of GE’s own ecomagination technology such as solar panels, advanced lighting products and Jenbacher engines, improving the energy efficiency of its production operations, and integrating GHG as a facility management objective.

“We said we would reduce our own greenhouse gas footprint, and we did,” said Fludder. “Ecomagination is all about leadership and innovation. These ecomagination solutions work for us, and they work for our customers. We use our own innovative technology and our lean six sigma process excellence to improve our energy efficiency, reduce waste and save money at the same time. This is leadership, when we ourselves embrace the same GE solutions, which we propose our customers employ to reduce their environmental footprint and operating cost. It’s a win-win.“

Progress on GE ecomagination Commitments
GE made the following progress on each of its ecomagination commitments in 2008:

1. Double investment in clean research and development – GE invested $1.4 billion in cleaner technology research and development in 2008, up from $750 million in 2005, and is quickly approaching its $1.5 billion annual ecomagination R&D target by 2010.

2. Increase revenues from ecomagination products – GE reported $17 billion in revenues from ecomagination products and services in 2008, an increase of 21% over the prior year. Despite the tough economic environment, GE is striving toward a stretch target of $25 billion in annual sales by 2010. GE also increased the number of ecomagination products in its portfolio from 17 products in 2005 to more than 80 products today.

3. Reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve the energy efficiency of its operations – GE met its first ecomagination goal by reducing GHG intensity 41% compared to 2004, surpassing the goal of 30% in 2008. In 2008, GE’s GHG emissions from operations were 13% lower than the 2004 baseline -- ahead of GE’s commitment to reduce its GHG emissions 1% by 2012. And GE has reduced its energy intensity 37% compared to 2004, on track to exceed its goal to improve energy efficiency 30% by the end of 2012.

4. Reduce water use and improve water reuse - In May of 2008, GE announced its commitment to reduce water consumption 20% by 2012. GE’s water use was flat in 2008. The company developed a detailed plan to execute our water reduction projects.

5. Keep the public informed – GE continues to inform the public of the Company’s progress via a refreshed ecomagination web site at, advertising, dozens of global conferences, stakeholder events, work with its ecomagination Advisory Board, and new public-policy engagements, including the historic “Blueprint for Climate Action” delivered by U.S. Climate Action Partnership.

ETA Ascon Star Group Saves 18 Million Dirhams with Ariba

Dubai-based companies leverage Ariba’s on-demand solutions to standardize sourcing and quickly deliver results

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – May 27, 2009 – Ariba, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARBA), the leading spend management solutions provider, today announced that, along with ETA Star Portal LLC, it has helped the ETA Ascon Star Group, a Dubai-based diversified company, drive over 18 million dirhams ($4.9 million dollars) in savings across its operations. An early adopter of Ariba® Sourcing™ On-Demand, ETA has successfully leveraged the solution to standardize its sourcing process, aggregate its spend and deliver fast, measurable results by sourcing more than 200 million dirhams ($55 million dollars) in spend in various categories.

Based on its success with Ariba Sourcing, ETA Group has entered into a separate agreement through its group company Star Portal LLC to become Ariba’s partner to sell Ariba® Spend Management™ solutions within the Middle East.

“To remain competitive in today’s economy, companies must find opportunities for cost reductions and quickly convert them into hard-dollar savings,” said Arif B. Rahman, Group Director, Finance & Member of the Board of ETA Ascon Star Group. “Within a few weeks of implementing Ariba’s on-demand sourcing solution, we were able to drive significant savings across our operations as well as process improvements that have increased our productivity.”

A robust and flexible offering, Ariba Sourcing On-Demand combines the technology, expertise and services needed to create effective markets for a wide range of direct materials and indirect goods and services with best practice processes that companies can implement to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their procurement operations and create value across their entire organization. Delivered as a hosted solution, Ariba Sourcing On-Demand requires no investments in special hardware and can be quickly and cost-effectively implemented across locations and geographies.

“The current state of the global economy has pushed every organization to take a close look at their spend and take action to effectively control it,” said Ravindra Sharma, General Manager & Group Director, Middle East & India, Ariba. “ETA recognized early on that spend management was the fastest, most efficient way to do this and by implementing Ariba’s on-demand solutions has been quickly able to deliver results that are not only measurable, but sustainable over the long haul.”

“We are always striving to find solutions that will help our customers gain a distinct advantage in the highly competitive market place,” Rahman said. “Ariba provides us with industry-leading technology that we can use to increase the efficiency of the sourcing process and drive fast, measurable savings that positively impact our customers’ bottom lines.”

More than 1,000 companies around the world, including over half of the Fortune 100, use Ariba’s solutions to lower costs, minimize risk and improve competitive advantage.
For more information on Ariba’s on-demand spend management solutions and the value they deliver, visit
“As the global financial crisis continues, companies must find innovative ways to manage both costs and cash,” said Daryl Rolley, Senior Vice President and General Manager, North America and Asia Pacific Operations, Ariba. “Spend management is among the fastest, most efficient ways to do this, and we are pleased that ETA Star Portal LLC is leveraging our offerings to help companies across the United Arab Emirates realize the benefits that it can provide.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

UAE Nationals dominate The Dubai Mall raffle winners

Dubai, UAE; May 27, 2009: The ‘Win Millions’ raffle at Festival@The Dubai Mall has a clear domination by UAE Nationals, who have won 40 daily raffles for AED 10,000 each and one weekly draw for AED 100,000 with only two days remaining for the shopping and entertainment extravaganza to conclude.

Three expatriates – an Iranian, South African and Pakistani each – also won AED 100,000 each at the weekly draws. The Iranian expatriate, Mr Kaveh Oyar Hosseini also got AED 50,000 as bonus prize money for being present in the mall during the draw. The grand draw for AED 1 million will be held on the closing day of the Festival on Friday (May 29, 2009).

Mr Nasser Rafi, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Malls Group, said: “The winner profile of Festival@The Dubai Mall highlights the cosmopolitan character of Dubai. Apart from the UAE nationals, the daily winners of over 100 customers at the mall include nationals from the Middle East, Europe, the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, CIS countries and USA.”

He added: “The multi-cultural profile of winners also highlights the appeal of The Dubai Mall to people of all nationalities, several of them tourists. The chief draw of the mall as a shopping destination is the diversity of choices it offers, with over 900 outlets including several flagship and Middle East debuts of the world’s leading brands.”

To participate in the Win Millions raffles, customers only have to spend AED 500 at any of the retail and/or F&B outlets. They also get bargain deals from participating outlets.
The month-long Festival@The Dubai Mall, also featuring a Grand Bentley raffle and mall-wide entertainment, will conclude on May 29. It is supported by Dubai Media Inc, Arab Media Group and The Address Hotels + Resorts, a part of Emaar Hospitality Group

UAE tops global markets for Chinese small commodities exports

Dubai, UAE, May 27, 2009: Traders from the world’s largest wholesale market for small commodities will exhibit in Dubai for the first time next month as emerging economies become increasingly important for Chinese exporters.

Yiwu Fair@Dubai will receive more 200 exhibitors from the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu, the centre of China’s vast small commodities industry and a beacon for tens of thousands of Middle East traders seeking products to supply to their home markets.

Announcing today the first Yiwu Fair@ Dubai, Mr. Zhu Jingyi, Communications Director of the Organising Committee of China-Yiwu International Commodities Fair, said: “The UAE is now the leading destination for Yiwu small commodities exports, overtaking the United States in 2007. While Western markets are slowing down due to the global recession, strong consumer demand in emerging markets such as the Middle East, India and Russia offer important growth opportunities to Yiwu exporters.”

Mr. Zhu said: “The UAE is a vital hub for emerging markets trade and its economic ties with the city of Yiwu and China as a whole are stronger than ever. That’s why we have taken the decision to stage the first Yiwu Fair@Dubai this year, and we’re confident that exports to Dubai from Yiwu will continue their upward trend.”

Mr. Zhu said: “Dubai and Yiwu have much in common: rapid development, excellent infrastructure, and a liberal and extremely cosmopolitan business environment. Both cities are strategic hubs. Yiwu is the small commodities centre of China and Dubai is the gateway to the Middle East and consumers in emerging markets.”

Despite the downturn, global demand for Chinese small commodities appears robust. Mr. Zhu said that exports from Yiwu to Dubai reached US$2 billion last year while Yiwu’s wholesale market saw turnover increase 14.17 per cent to 11.3 billion yuan (US$1.65 billion) in the first quarter of 2009.

He said: “Yiwu’s strength is its product diversity, from economically priced household goods to jewellery and luxury items. By exhibiting in Dubai, we are providing Middle East-based buyers the opportunity to source from a vast choice of well-made products to serve their home markets.”

Yiwu is located in Zhejiang Province, a manufacturing and business centre along China’s east cost, around 300 kilometres from Shanghai. It covers a total area of 1,105 square kilometers and has a population of two million.

The city dates back more than 2,200 years to the Qing Dynasty. Traditionally a poor farming region, Yiwu has been transformed over the last decade from a provincial trading outpost to the centre of the world’s small commodities industry.

Yiwu is today one of China’s wealthiest business centres with a GDP in 2008 of 49.3 billion yuan (US$7.2 billion). The city exports more than 500,000 containers of products to 215 countries around the world every year, including 100,000 to Dubai.


Yiwu is increasingly famous for its market, which has a staggering 62,000 stalls selling 1.7 million different kinds of small commodities. Yiwu is recognised as a national industrial base for a variety of products including pens, cosmetics, knitwear and handicrafts.

Mr. Zhu said: “A visitor spending three minutes at each stall eight hours a day would need more than a year to tour the entire market. There are more than 2,200 representative offices of overseas companies in Yiwu, including both international retail brands and Middle East traders.”

Yiwu wields such considerable influence in the global small commodities sector that China’s Ministry of Commerce launched the Yiwu-China Small Commodity Index in 2006. The index tracks pricing weekly and monthly across a variety of product categories and monitors dealer confidence.

Mr. Zhu said: “The summer season traditionally sees an upswing in demand. We’re still receiving increasing numbers of foreign business visitors to Yiwu and trade across categories, from jewellery to handicrafts, remains buoyant.”

Yiwu is also an exhibitions centre, hosting 42 different events in 2008. The China-Yiwu International Commodities Fair, held every October, is the third largest commodities fair in China.

Yiwu Fair@Dubai takes place at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition from June 14-16. The exhibition is part of China Sourcing Fair Dubai, now in its third year.

The Rehabilitation and Employment Centre for People with Special Needs Recognises Etisalat Support

Abu Dhabi, 27th May 2009: The Rehabilitation and Employment Centres for People with Special Needs today recognised Etisalat for its leading role in providing career opportunities and developing initiatives geared at helping people with special needs integrate within the local society.

Etisalat was hailed as a role model for other companies in the public and private sector for its work in developing the nation’s human resources and being committed to support those with special needs.

Etisalat Vice President, Corporate Communications, Ahmed Bin Ali, received the merit certificate on behalf of Etisalat, during a ceremony dedicated to celebrate the graduation of a new batch of trainees from the Centre.

The ceremony was attended by, and H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Etisalat is a leading national company that has been working hard to achieve financial and operational success whilst at the same time meeting its responsibility to the UAE and its residents.

This has been reflected though supporting the activation of Federal Law which targets the welfare of people with special needs. Etisalat participates in this process working alongside with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care – Special Needs & Minor Affairs, and Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services.

Etisalat realizes that people with special needs require tailor-made services. It has introduced special technology to answer their requirements and help them to integrate with society. Etisalat presently offers services suitable for people with hearing difficulties such as video conferencing, Fixed-line SMS services, BlackBerry services, MobileCAM, Push Email, 3G data and video calls. Etisalat also has solutions for visually impaired individuals such as Email Reader and Push to Talk.

During the “National Campaign to Integrate People with Special needs” which was held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatma Bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation, Etisalat offered a 50% discounted rate for the Freedom Package which is designed to help people with special needs.

Etisalat also collaborated with the “Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services” and the “Dubai Club for Special Sports” in conducting workshops to promote its new technologies that support people with special needs and help them to interact with their surrounding.

Etisalat has also collaborated with the UAE Ministry of Social Affairs to conduct a ‘Freedom’ technology workshop in the presence of more than 40 special need social centers from across the UAE.
Etisalat also supported Dubai International Rehabilitation Forum - REHAB Dubai 2008, as well as participating as a main sponsor of 6th MENA Regional Special Games – Abu Dhabi, and has been recognized by the UAE Special Olympics Committee for supporting this tournament

Giordano recognised as Best Service Performance Brand for excellence in customer care

Dubai, UAE, May 27, 2009: Having been recognized for its high standards of service, Giordano Fashions LLC was awarded Best Service Performance Brand by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, as part of the Dubai Service Excellence Scheme.

Representing ETA Group and accepting the award on behalf of Giordano Fashions LLC, Ahmed Salahuddin, Director, ETA Group, said, “Service has always been top priority for our operations, both in-store and back office, which adds to our customers’ overall experience and most importantly, their perception of the brand. We are constantly improving on our existing services and store facilities, reinventing ways to enhance Giordano’s interaction with its customers. Building a relationship with the customer is key, as every satisfied customer is a Giordano brand ambassador.”

In line with their 2009 strategy, Giordano continues to focus on delivering a brand complemented by high quality service, offering the customer an enjoyable and comfortable shopping experience.

Since 1993, Giordano has rapidly expanded in the Middle East and India. With a current store count of 205, the company has exceeded their goal of 200 stores by 2010. Giordano opened 24 stores during the last six months further strengthening their presence in the region.

“Our goal is to continue to branch out into new locations, making our stores more accessible to customers. We have opened stores in most of the new shopping malls across the Emirates, including our flagship store of over 4,000 square feet at The Dubai Mall, putting us at key locations,” said Ishwar Chugani, Executive Director, Giordano Fashions LLC.

The company also has aggressive plans to expand within Saudi Arabia, with five new stores opening in 2009, one in Makkah, Madinah and Al Khobar, and two in Jeddah.

Globally, Giordano operates over 2,000 stores across 40 countries, and in 2008, the brand entered Mauritius and Azerbaijan, adding two more countries in the MENA region. In India, Giordano opened three more stores and five in-store counters, taking the total number to 16 since the launch of their first store in 2006.

During 2009, Giordano’s strategy will be to keep abreast with the changing trends in consumer fashion and the customer’s current needs, therefore building on the principles that have helped the company sustain growth.

Commenting on the new direction, Chugani said, “Over the years, Giordano has earned the respect and trust of its customers who demand quality, good value and excellent customer service, even more now. Our strengths lie in our ability to deliver the essentials that are timeless and relevant whatever the season. This year, we have identified our customers’ needs and are realigning our priorities to mirror those of our customers. We are going back to basics.”

Giordano is committed to making a positive impact on the community, following the principle of “doing well by doing good” through community involvement and environment protection. Earlier this year, Giordano announced a global program to convert all the stores to use energy saving lighting by July 2011. “In 2008, a large percentage of stores were converted and the results were encouraging, reflecting a reduction of approximately 318 tons in CO2 emission a year. This proves that even the smallest of efforts can make a big impact,” said Chugani.

Focused on supporting its staff, Giordano believes that the success of the organization depends on the contribution of its people. During these challenging times, Giordano has reviewed costs and optimized efficiency in the organisation’s practices to ensure staff security and stability. Giordano supports its staff’s personal and professional development, encouraging staff to grow within the organization.

“We are proud of the high retention of staff we have. Almost all the senior management members have been with us since inception,” concluded Chugani.


For the seventh consecutive year, Dubai is having a strong presence at the Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events (IMEX) which is underway in Frankfurt until May 28.
The IMEX-2009 edition sees 43 co-participants from Dubai’s expanding tourism industry sharing 355-square-metre Dubai stand with 28 booths under the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) umbrella.
The DTCM invited the Business Tourism industry decision-makers, the co-participants and the Media representatives for a “Dubai Starter Snack” at the Dubai Stand on May 26 and 27.
The DTCM delegation is led by Mr. Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, DTCM Executive Director Media Relations and Business Development, and includes Mr. Hamad Bin Mejren, DTCM Executive Director Business Tourism, Mr. Saleh Al Geziry, DTCM Director Overseas Promotions, Mr. Mohamed Al Muhairi, DTCM Head of Overseas Promotions’ Canada and USA Region, Mr. Jerad Bachar, Director Dubai Convention Bureau, and Mr. Abdulla Yousef, Sales Executive Dubai Convention Bureau.
The strong commitment of DTCM in promoting Dubai as the leading convention and meeting hub in the Middle East region ensures that the Business Tourism sector has a promising future in Dubai.
Mr. Eyad said Dubai’s strong participation in IMEX over the years reflects the keenness of DTCM in promoting Dubai strongly in key source markets, including tapping the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry. Germany, he said, has remained a major source market for Dubai’s tourism industry.
Mr. Hamad Bin Mejren, DTCM Executive Director Business Tourism, said: “Dubai has risen in the ICCA ranking from 93 in 2007 to 50 in 2008. This is a great achievement and the results reflect our efforts to bring Dubai to the top destinations worldwide in the Business Tourism market.”
Mr. Saleh Al Geziry, DTCM Director Overseas Promotions, said the department has given a major boost to its already aggressive marketing and promotional drive in order to boost visitors’ numbers to the emirate and enhance hotel occupancy levels.
The IMEX-2009 showcases the best of Dubai in terms of facilities for the Business Tourism Industry. The co-participants are highlighting various conferencing and exhibition infrastructure in the emirate.
For the first time a delegation from the Dubai Police, comprising of Lt. Colonel Nasser Abdul Wahed Al Awar, Lt. Colonel Hassan Mohammad Tamim and Sergeant Jaber Abed Mohammad Jaber, is participating at IMEX and promoting the launch of a specialized department which will be exclusively engaged in protection of tourism in Dubai.
Over 3,500 exhibitors from 157 countries are attending IMEX 2009. A rise in the number of hosted buyers attending IMEX 2009 combined with hundreds of new exhibitors, a total of 70 educational events & forums and 14 new vision industry initiatives; mark this year’s show out as one of the most business-centered and exciting to date. As many as 43 stands have increased their space at IMEX 2009 with high demand experienced from all corners of the globe.

One thousand art masterpieces to adorn Burj Dubai

Dubai, UAE; May 27, 2009: Emaar Properties, the developer of Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building, has announced that visitors to the iconic tower will be welcomed with more than 1,000 specially commissioned pieces of art that will adorn the interiors of Burj Dubai and the surrounding Emaar Boulevard, when it opens later this year. With art pieces from prominent Middle East and international artists, visitors will experience a breathtaking artistic tribute to the spirit of global harmony.

Amongst the specially commissioned art for Burj Dubai, occupying pride of place in the tower’s residential lobby will be World Voices by the internationally renowned artist Jaume Plensa. Plensa’s masterpiece in titanium and alloy was hand-picked by Emaar Chairman Mr Mohamed Alabbar following a year-long selection process led by the building’s architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) of Chicago.

Jaume Plensa’s World Voices is composed of 196 cymbals that represent the 196 countries of the world - symbolic to Burj Dubai being a collaboration of people from across the globe and befitting its global iconic status. Cast in bronze and brass alloy and plated with 18-carat gold, the cymbals are horizontally suspended onto titanium rods anchored at the bottom of two pools, symbolizing reeds in a lake. Finished by hand, the cymbals create a distinct timbre as they are struck by dripping water, which the artist compared to the sound of water falling on leaves.

Speaking on the art focus for the tower, Mr. Alabbar said: “Art is central to the Burj Dubai project, not only as a visual statement but as a means to link cultures and communities. Thousands of people from around the world have collaborated to achieve an iconic landmark, the world’s tallest building. By assembling one of the world’s largest collections of art and sculpture from leading Middle East and international artists, we are celebrating their endeavour and the global significance of Burj Dubai.”

He said: “World Voices will be a compelling addition to Plensa’s astonishing canon of public work. It takes inspiration from Dubai and sends a positive message to the world.”

Burj Dubai’s architects and interior designers Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) approached international and Middle East-based artists to submit concepts for the centrepiece of the Burj Dubai’s residential lobby more than a year ago. Plensa’s winning design was chosen from a shortlist of five.

George Efstathiou, the Managing Partner for SOM leading the Burj Dubai team said, “The 1,000 art pieces will include a wide range of contemporary artists as well as museum-standard historic art recognising the Gulf’s unique heritage.”

He added: “A part of SOM’s tradition is a strong connection of their projects with the art world. SOM has worked with leading artists from the world including Picasso, Miro, Calder and now Jaume Plensa.”

Nada Andric, an SOM Associate Director leading Burj Dubai’s interior design, said, “World Voices captures the international optimism and inclusiveness of Burj Dubai and is intimately connected with Dubai and the region. The sound of water is pervasive in the Middle East, where fountains are typical ornaments in the courtyards of traditional houses. The flower-like architectural vernacular of Burj Dubai is recreated by the reeds that hold up the installation’s cymbals, and their gentle movement and delicacy makes a fascinating contrast with the geometric vastness of the tower.”

In his proposal for World Voices, Jaume Plensa wrote, “The residential lobby area of Burj Dubai will be a meeting place of diverse cultures and nationalities - a metaphor of the diversity of our global society…World Voices is homage to this diversity and a celebration of life.”

During the artist’s recent visit to Burj Dubai site, he said “Burj Dubai is a body and a house; my piece is at the entrance of the house and creates a soul inside the body.”

Born in Barcelona in 1956, Plensa is one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary sculptors. His innovative sculptures combine seemingly disparate materials such as light, metal, glass and water in installations and sculptures which are both intensely physical and profoundly metaphysical. For over thirty years, Plensa’s oeuvre has explored the body and space, often incorporating text and language. Using an eclectic group of materials he has developed a unique visual language which expresses his idea of the harmony between body and soul. World Voices is the artist’s largest permanent indoor installation and his first permanent commission in the Middle East.

One of Plensa’s most famous works is the Crown Fountain in Chicago. Comprising two 16-metre high towers, glass, stainless steel, LED screens, light, wood, granite and water, Crown Fountain has become a beloved icon of the city. Like World Voices, Crown Fountain employs the sound and coolness of water to engage a community.

Plensa has exhibited internationally in numerous museums world-wide and is represented in fifty-five museum and public collections. He has completed thirty-five public commissions, including Dream in St. Helens, Liverpool, England, which has been shortlisted for the Marsh Prize; Breathing, a monument to fallen journalists at the BBC Headquarters in London; Seven Deities of Good Fortune in Tokyo, Japan; and Nomade, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Standing tall at over 800 metres, Burj Dubai is at the centre of Downtown Burj Dubai, a 500-acre mega project described as the new heart of the city of Dubai. The tower features the Armani Hotel Dubai and Armani Residences, corporate suites, exclusive residences, and health and fitness facilities. Burj Dubai is adjacent to The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, and The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain.

Final day prize bonanza at Festival@The Dubai Mall: AED 1 million and Bentley car up for grabs

Dubai, UAE; May 27, 2009: One lucky shopper will win the grand prize of AED 1 million on Friday (May 29, 2009) as Festival@The Dubai Mall, the month-long shopping and entertainment extravaganza at the world’s largest shopping and leisure destination, draws to a close.

The Grand Bentley raffle draw for a luxurious, four-door Bentley Continental Flying Spur will also be held on May 29, adding to the excitement of the closing day celebration. Several entertainers will join in the mall-wide entertainment in a fitting grand finale of the family festival that has attracted thousands of visitors over four weeks.

Mr Nasser Rafi, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Malls Group, said: “The Festival@The Dubai Mall is one of the most unique mall-wide retail promotion events ever undertaken in Dubai. The total cash prize package of AED 3.1 million adds to the excitement of shopping with visitors having the extensive choice of 900 retail stores including 160 F&B outlets.”

He added: “The closing day will be a bonanza with two grand draws – one for AED 1 million in the Win Millions raffle, and the other for the Bentley car. Two lucky winners will join over 100 lucky customers, who have already won cash prizes ranging from AED 10,000 to AED 150,000.”

Visitors to The Dubai Mall can enter the ‘Win Millions’ raffle for the AED 1 million draw and a daily draw of AED 10,000 on Thursday, by spending a total of AED 500 in any of the retail and/or F&B outlet, while also availing of bargain deals from the participating outlets. They can collect the raffle coupons from the customer service desks.

Raffle coupons for the Grand Bentley draw are sold out. Only 5,000 tickets, each priced AED 200, were on sale to win the coveted Bentley Continental Flying Spur. Ticket-holders also have access to the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo walk-through tunnel for closer encounters with the 33,000 aquatic animals.

The Festival@The Dubai Mall also featured Bid 2 Win, an innovative auction for premium products; bargain deals on various global brands and mall-wide entertainment. It is supported by Dubai Media Inc, Arab Media Group and The Address Hotels + Resorts, a part of Emaar Hospitality Group.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Microsoft Brings Four-Wheel Drive to Your Desktop: New Mice Work on Virtually Any Surface

From optical to Microsoft BlueTrack Technology, Microsoft leads mouse innovations.

Dubai ¾ May 25, 2009 ¾ Consumers are taking their notebook and netbook PCs everywhere these days and can now work or play wherever they go with three new Microsoft BlueTrack Technology products: the Wireless Mobile Mouse 6000 featuring Microsoft’s first nano transceiver, the full-sized ambidextrous Wireless Mouse 5000, and the sleek mouse and keyboard combo Wireless Desktop 3000. With these new products consumers can work with confidence on more surfaces than ever— from a granite kitchen countertop to the living room carpet.1 Microsoft Hardware continues to deliver technology innovations that meet consumer needs — from optical technology one decade ago to BlueTrack Technology today.

“Microsoft Hardware has always been at the forefront of innovation — from the creation of optical technology 10 years ago to the launch of the world’s first Bluetooth desktop in 2002, and now with BlueTrack Technology,” said Armagan Demir, Head of Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division Middle East. “We firmly believe BlueTrack Technology gives you the ability to work virtually anywhere your PC does and will be the tracking technology of the future. We are excited to extend it down our product line.”

Award-Winning BlueTrack Technology
Tech savvy consumers want the latest and greatest technology available, and that is exactly what Microsoft’s proprietary BlueTrack Technology delivers. Unveiled last fall, the technology works on more surfaces than both optical and laser mice,2 including smooth and shiny surfaces such as granite and marble. In addition, the technology enables reliable mouse tracking even on difficult surfaces such as carpet. The success of BlueTrack Technology has already been noted around the industry.

Go Anywhere
The first new mouse to join the award-winning BlueTrack Technology family is perfect for using on the go. Featuring a sleek, ambidextrous design with chrome accents, the Wireless Mobile Mouse 6000 introduces Microsoft’s first nano transceiver. Sticking out only 0.8 centimeters from the USB port, the transceiver can easily remain plugged into the computer or be stored conveniently right in the mouse. The other new mouse launched today, the Wireless Mouse 5000, is also ambidextrous, providing full-sized comfort in either hand with a snap-in transceiver that lets consumers take it on the road.

Keyboards Go Blue
The first desktop to feature BlueTrack Technology — the Wireless Desktop 3000 — will turn heads with its stylish design. Paired with the Wireless Mouse 5000, the keyboard’s compact footprint, reliable 2.4 GHz wireless technology, and plug-and-play minitransceiver make it a great notebook PC companion. The keyboard also features quiet touch keys, a thin-profile design and a soft-touch palm rest.

The Wireless Mobile Mouse 6000, Wireless Mouse 5000, and Wireless Desktop 3000 will be available in July for the estimated retail prices of AED 199, AED 159, and AED 249, respectively.3 All products will be backed by a worldwide three-year limited hardware warranty from Microsoft. More detailed information about BlueTrack is available at


The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) organized a meeting with senior representatives of hotels, hotel apartments and tour operators at the One and Only Royal Mirage to review the summer promotional campaign to boost number of visitors to the emirate and hotel occupancy levels.

The meeting was attended among others by Mr. Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, DTCM Executive Director Media Relations and Business Development, and Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Hassan, DTCM Deputy Director Visitors Information Bureaus.

Mr. Eyad outlined various initiatives launched by the DTCM to increase hotel occupancies and attract more visitors to the emirate during the summer months and the remainder of the year.

He said the department was working on a promotional campaign for the summer targeting visitors from Europe and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states under the titled ‘Visit Dubai During Summer’.

The meeting also discussed a marketing plan for the UK, one of the top source markets for Dubai’s tourism industry.

Earlier last year, the department created a task force with experts and representatives of Dubai tourism industry players, to review the tourism market landscape and take appropriate measures.

Based on the inputs provided by the industry players and experts, the department took measures which reflected in hotel occupancies getting a boost even in the first quarter of 2009.

Grand Bentley raffle draw on closing day of Festival@The Dubai Mall

Dubai, UAE; May 24, 2009: The much-awaited Grand Bentley raffle draw will be held on the closing day of the Festival@The Dubai Mall on May 29, 2009. The Grand Bentley draw is one of the key attractions of the month-long shopping and entertainment extravaganza at the mall.

Only 5,000 tickets, each priced AED 200, were offered for sale for the Grand Bentley raffle. The lucky winner will get a luxurious, four-door Bentley Continental Flying Spur, which is currently displayed in the mall. Winners can also opt for a buy-back guarantee on the car.

Mr Nasser Rafi, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Malls Group, said: “The Grand Bentley raffle was one of the talking point events of the Festival@The Dubai Mall. With all 5,000 tickets already sold out, we will host the draw on the closing day of the festival.”

He added: “The Festival@The Dubai Mall has been a strong crowd-puller to the mall drawing over 750,000 people every week. The various opportunities to win millions of dirhams apart from the Bentley further added to visitor appeal.”

The Grand Bentley raffle ticket also offered the free access for ticket-holders to The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo walk-through tunnel for closer encounters with the 33,000 aquatic animals.

Mr Bob Ferguson, a Scottish visitor to the UAE, is looking forward to the results of the Grand Bentley raffle. “I bought the raffle coupon as a birthday gift for my friend. I have not won at raffles but I believe that my friend, who lives here, will be lucky and get to take home the Bentley.”

A self-confessed luxury-car enthusiast and Egyptian expatriate resident in Dubai, Mr Sami Elgabri has also entered the raffle on behalf of his friend. “The Bentley Continental Flying Spur is a dream car, and all its aspects are perfectly finished. It will make a perfect car to own,” he said.

The Festival@The Dubai Mall also features Bid 2 Win, an innovative auction for premium products; bargain deals on various global brands and mall-wide entertainment. It is supported by Dubai Media Inc, Arab Media Group and The Address Hotels + Resorts, a part of Emaar Hospitality Group.


For the seventh consecutive year, Dubai will have a strong presence at the Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events (IMEX) in Frankfurt from May 26 to 28, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) announced.
The IMEX-2009 edition will see 43 co-participants from Dubai’s expanding tourism industry sharing 355-square-metre Dubai Stand under the DTCM umbrella.
At a pre-fair meeting held at the DTCM Head Office, Mr. Ali Abdul Wahab, DTCM Head of Overseas Promotions’ East and West Europe Region, the Dubai Stand (D520) at Messe Frankfurt will have 28 booths.
The DTCM delegation will consist of Mr. Mohammed Khamis bin Hareb, DTCM Executive Director Operations and Marketing, Mr. Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, DTCM Executive Director Media Relations and Business Development, Mr. Saleh Al Geziry, DTCM Director Overseas Promotions and Mr. Mohamed Al Muhairi, DTCM Head of Overseas Promotions’ Canada and USA Region.
The IMEX-2009 will be utilised to showcase the best of Dubai in terms of facilities for the MICE industry.
The co-participants will also highlight various conferencing and exhibition infrastructure in the emirate.
Over 3,500 exhibitors from 157 countries will attend IMEX-2009. Over 3,600 hosted buyers from almost 60 world markets attended IMEX 2008, amongst an overall trade visitor total of 8,751. As many as 43 stands have increased their space at IMEX 2009 with high demand experienced from all corners of the globe.

DM holds Bio-diversity exhibition

Eng. Salem Mesmar, Assistant Director General of Dubai Municipality for Health, Safety and Environment Monitoring Sector on Sunday organized an exhibition to mark the World Biodiversity Day at the Municipality headquarters.

The event was held in collaboration with the Department of Parks and Recreational Facilities in the municipality of the western region - Liwa and the Natural History Museum, Sharjah on the occasion of the 22nd National Environment Day 2009.

Mr. Mesmar stressed on the importance of concerted efforts and cooperation among the national institutions in raising awareness on various environmental and health matters, pointing out that unity and cooperation is in itself a success for the event.

He said the municipality has made it a practice to observe this occasion each year due to its keenness to participate in national events in the area the preservation of the environment, but the participation this year was distinguished by the cooperation between different bodies.
He added that the exhibition aimed to familiarize staff and visitors to the marine environment, traditional ways of fishing, role of old generation in the preservation of the marine environment, increase public awareness on issues involved in the protection of coastal environment undertaken by the municipality, introducing and encouraging public to participate in environmental events.

"From this standpoint, the Municipality, on the National Environment Day, calls to respect the national environmental issues and to think with a sense of responsibility in all actions undertaken by each of us, for the shared values of preserving the land, and that too with a firm resolve and strong confidence," said Mesmar.
He pointed out that the Municipality is working to coordinate with all concerned on environmental issues in and outside the emirate and to succeed in the efforts to protect the environment and also development on a sound basis to ensure maintenance of a sound environment free of pollution.
The activities and events included an exhibition of organic products by the Department of Parks and Recreational Facilities in the municipality of the western region – Liwa. The highlight of the event was a presentation of products from the model garden, organic crops, samples of the palm weevil insect with a detailed explanation of the gravity of the crops and agricultural products, an electronic presentation on the implementation stages of the project Liwa Model Farm, and distribution of pamphlets and brochures on agricultural pests and the services of the departments of the municipality in the western region.
The exhibition also included activities of the Natural History Museum, Sharjah, which shed light on the domestic ecological system through a presentation of scientific information on certain organisms such as lice, worms, wood dust, flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches and other insects in both Arabic and English, in addition to a display of many types of preserved insects.

There was also an exhibition of harmful insects by the Pest Control Section of the Public Health Services Department of Dubai Municipality, which included presentation of the types of pests that may pose a risk to human health such as mosquitoes that transmit diseases like malaria, in addition to a presentation on the types of pests that are harmful to human health such as ants, Red Spider, rodents and cockroaches. The event also witnessed distribution of educational leaflets on the public health and pest control methods.

Etisalat Facilities Management Presents Modern & Technology-Based Services at FM Expo 2009

Dubai, UAE - 25th May 2009: Etisalat Facilities Management LLC is showcasing the latest technologies and innovations in the facilities management sector during its participation at the FM Expo and Property and Facilities Management Conference, which is taking place at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre this week.

Etisalat Facilities Management is presenting services and sharing best practise with customers, helping them achieve cost savings and efficient performance. The company is also using the event to platform its leadership in facility management services including electrical, mechanical, civil, general maintenance operations, buildings management, facility related equipment, as well as cleaning and security.

Mr. Mustafa Ahmed Al Ateek, General Manager Etisalat Facilities Management said: “Etisalat Facilities Management is building solid partnerships with its strategic clients within the government and private sectors across the UAE. Our service proposition supports our strategy which is based on operation, integration and innovation. Together these values help our partners achieve their goals through increasing efficiency.”

“We are continuing to build on our excellent achievements and developments within our organisation and we are delighted to participate at the FM Expo to showcase a comprehensive platform of modern technology-based services that we provide to our strategic partners including Etisalat, Abu Dhabi Airport Company, Dubai Islamic Affairs and Charitable Affairs, Asteco and John Buck International.”

Etisalat Facilities Management is a platinum sponsor for the FM Expo exhibition and the Property & Facilities Management Conference.

Etisalat Facilities Management, part of Etisalat Services Holding, was formally established on March 1st 2007 and today has more than 600 in-house staff and employs more than 1000 contractors across the UAE. The company operates on more than 5000 sites within UAE and provides integrated facilities management services covering facilities management operations and maintenance for Hard and soft services, FM consultancy, and CMMS areas.

Etisalat Facilities Management utilizes state of the art technologies in managing its operations and call centre using the latest Facilities Management Software Maximo and utilizing Personal Digital Assistance Technology (PDA) which provides essential tools for monitoring all Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to its Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Etisalat Facilities Management is an ISO certified organization.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Emirates Group Posts 21st Consecutive Year of Profit in 2008-09

DUBAI, U.A.E., 21st May 2009 – The Emirates Group has reported its 21st consecutive year of net profit for its 2008-09 financial year despite unprecedented challenges for the airline and travel industry.
The Group’s net profit of AED 1.49 billion (US$ 406 million) for its financial year ending 31st March 2009, was down 72 per cent from the previous year’s record profits of AED 5.3 billion (US$1.45 billion), showing the impact of the record fuel prices in the first six months of the year, and the impact of the global recession.
At the same time, Group revenues of AED 46.3 billion ($ 12.6 billion), representing an increase of 10.4 per cent over the previous year’s AED 41.9 billion ($ 11.4 billion), reflects continued business growth.
The Group also retained a healthy cash balance of AED 8.7 billion ($ 2.4 billion) compared with AED 14 billion ($ 3.8 billion) the previous year. This cash position is after funding new aircraft orders, new construction projects to build a twin tower hotel and staff accommodation, dividends paid to the company’s owners, and massive product and service investments including the hundreds of millions of dollars invested to develop dedicated Emirates Lounges across the network and retrofitting aircraft to align the interiors across the young fleet.
In 2008-09, the Group estimates a total contribution of AED 58.8 billion ($ 16.0 billion) to the UAE economy.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group said: “We have returned our 21st consecutive year of net profit, and although it is a 72 per cent decrease on the previous year’s all-time record profit, under the circumstances this is a satisfactory result.”
The Group’s performance this year demonstrates its flexibility in a challenging economic period, and its ability to strategically grow its business and customer demand. During the year, the company strengthened its operations with investments in technology, new products and customer service, while keeping a tight rein on costs.
The past year saw the first six months posting record fuel prices with oil rising to US$147 (AED 540) a barrel, and then a decrease in demand from the weakened global economy was followed by declining yields with the strengthening US Dollar against major currencies, which all contributed to lower profitability and lower net margin for the Group at 3.3 per cent, compared to 13.2 per cent in the previous year.
Fuel costs remained the top expenditure for the 5th year running, accounting for an unprecedented 36.2 per cent of airline operating costs compared with 32.9 per cent the previous year.
Sheikh Ahmed commented: “No one could have predicted the scale of the worldwide recession which is now impacting every country on earth. Emirates has worked hard to cope with this downturn by maintaining our agility and responsiveness in a volatile economic environment.
“We have met these challenges with determination, improved efficiencies and innovative market-leading initiatives. In 2008-09 financial year, our group achieved two significant milestones: Emirates accepted delivery of its first A380 heralding a new era in our eco-efficient aircraft fleet with Dnata playing a significant role in developing the ground handling processes to manage this pioneering aircraft; and we witnessed the smooth opening of the state-of-the-art Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport - a remarkable new facility dedicated to Emirates operations, with Dnata overseeing the ramp operations and managing the state of the art baggage system.”
He added: “As we move into the new financial year, the outlook is not improving. Although fuel prices are dropping, demand for business and first class traffic is still weak in many markets. Without downplaying the global economic situation and its challenges for our business, I still believe that the coming year will be one of satisfactory growth for the Emirates Group.
“Our development plans remain unchanged. We have weathered the last twelve months with satisfactory growth, maintained the quality of our award-winning service, and maintained staff numbers in the face of an unsettled future. We will continue to forge ahead to build the airline, Dnata and the many subsidiary companies that are part of the Emirates Group.”
Sheikh Ahmed also reinforced the airline’s plans to continue taking delivery of 18 new aircraft in the coming year, saying: “We will progress with our fleet and route expansion plans. With our strong business fundamentals and track record, we have had no problems securing financing for our growth. In fact, to date we have already secured financial commitments for over half of our aircraft deliveries in the coming year.”
Emirates airline’s revenues totalled AED 44.2 billion ($ 12.0 billion), an increase of 9.9 per cent from AED 40.2 billion ($ 10.95 billion) the previous year. Airline profits of AED 982 million ($268 million) marked an 80.4 per cent decrease over 2007-08’s record profits of AED 5.0 billion ($1.37 billion).
In 2008-09, the airline’s passenger fleet expanded with the delivery of four Airbus A380s, ten Boeing 777 300ERs, and six Boeing 777 200LRs. At the end of the financial year Emirates’ fleet reached 132 aircraft, including eight freighters, boasting an average age of 64 months – one of the youngest commercial fleets in the skies.
At the end of the year, the total number of aircraft on Emirates’ order book, excluding options, was 161 aircraft, worth approximately US $ 52 billion.
During the year, the airline launched passenger services to four new destinations - Kozhikode (Calicut), Guangzhou, Los Angeles and San Francisco – and increased frequencies onto existing routes in high-demand markets.
Passenger Seat Factor, at 75.8 per cent, was a strong result given there was also a seat capacity (ASKMs) increase of 13.4 per cent. Overall traffic (passenger and cargo) increased by 7.7 per cent to 15,879 million tonne kilometres as compared to the overall capacity increase of 10.5 per cent to 24,397 million tonne kilometres (ATKMs).
Yield improved by 8.4 per cent to 256 fils (69.8 US cents) per RTKM (Revenue Tonne Kilometre), up from 236 fils (64.4 US cents) in 2007-08 marginally ahead of growth in unit costs that grew by 8.2 per cent from higher fuel and operating expenses. These helped to improve the break even load factor down to 63.9 per cent from 64.1 per cent last year.
Emirates continued to enhance its products in the air and on the ground, completing the refurbishment of its Boeing 777 classic aircraft with its new First, Business and Economy Class seats, as well as the latest ice inflight entertainment system with over 1,000 channels on-demand.
On the ground, Emirates Airport Services were highly involved in the development and opening of Terminal 3 at Dubai International. At JFK, Emirates Airport Services completed the construction of a customised airbridge providing direct access from the Emirates Lounge to the aircraft. In addition, the division opened lounges at Beijing, Dusseldorf, Johannesburg, Mumbai and Zurich airports, taking the number of lounges in the Emirates network to 20 with three more planned.
Skywards, Emirates’ frequent flyer programme, welcomed its 4 millionth member over the course of the year with a new member enrolling every 41 seconds.
The airline’s internet and e-commerce gateway,, was recreated in a format tailored for easy access on mobile devices, making Emirates booking and flight management facilities available to customers on the move.
Emirates SkyCargo produced a growth performance despite high fuel prices in the first half of the year and the global economic slump which had significant impact on world trade and shipping patterns. The division carried 1.4 million tonnes of cargo, an improvement of 9.8 per cent over the previous year’s 1.3 million tonnes helping revenue to increase by 14.8 per cent to AED 7.7 billion ($ 2.1 billion), up from AED 6.7 billion ($ 1.8 billion) in 2007-08.
Cargo revenue contributed 19 per cent to the airline’s total transport revenue.
Emirates SkyCargo took delivery of its first 777 freighter at the end of the financial year, bringing the total freighter fleet to eight aircraft – including seven 747Fs, and the new 777F operated by Emirates. In all, Emirates SkyCargo carried freight in 132 aircraft, including bellyhold space in the passenger fleet, to 99 cities on six continents.
The Destination & Leisure Management division of Emirates airline maintained sales of AED 1.4 billion ($373 million), in line with the preceding year’s performance, despite challenges from global economic downturn. Arabian Adventures and Emirates Holidays cared for a total of 349,104 tourists, Arabian Adventures played host to 267,600 visitors to Dubai over the year, while Congress Solutions International arranged major global summits on behalf of the World Travel and Tourism Council and the World Economic Forum and the government of Dubai.
In October 2009, Emirates Hotels & Resorts will open its conservation-based Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in Australia’s Blue Mountains, and in Seychelles’ Cap Ternay Resort & Spa is slated to open in 2011-12.
Dnata achieved a 22 per cent increase in revenue to AED 3.25 billion ($886 million), compared with AED 2.67 billion ($727 million) the previous year. Profits increased 66.4 per cent to reach AED 507 million ($138 million) despite a testing year from increased activity.
Dnata continues to play a major role in the Group's growth by handling a record 244,516 aircraft (up 2.3 per cent on last year), over 37 million passengers (up 5.7 per cent), and 627,352 tonnes of cargo (down 0.8 per cent).
During 2008-09, Dnata International continued to expand its ground handling operations to bring its reach to 17 airports in seven countries.
Dnata Cargo successfully launched CALOGI, a pioneering web-based cargo services portal- the most comprehensive package development currently available in the cargo industry and the biggest and most compliant IATA e-freight compliant solution available today.
Dnata Travel Services opened the 50th outlet this year, coinciding with its 50th anniversary of operations. The division also opened Afghanistan's first-ever full-service travel shop in Kabul in partnership with Dunya Travel. Dnata this year also invested in the Hogg Robinson Group acquiring 23 per cent of the travel company’s stock. Hogg Robinson Group UAE increased sales by 14 per cent launching new outlets in Dubai.
Over the last five years, Dnata has grown its revenue by 10 per cent compound. Looking ahead, Dnata expects overall growth for its business to continue in the single digit figures for the next two years.

The Group’s close co-operation with Whitbread Plc continues with some 65 Costa outlets in the UAE, the largest number in any country outside of the United Kingdom. The joint venture between the two companies also saw the first Premier Inn opened in Dubai in April 2008, the second in May 2009, and the third due for completion in November 2009.
As of 31st March 2009, the Group and its subsidiaries employed 48,246 staff, representing 145 different nationalities. During the year, the Group hired more than 7,000 people from over 250,000 job applications received from around the world.
The full 2008-09 Report and Accounts of the Emirates Group – comprising Emirates airline, Dnata and subsidiary companies – is available on