Foreign investment in the UAE capital is 'healthy'

Sheikh Hamed, right, says law on foreign ownership may come soon. (SAEED DAHLAH)

New legislation to be issued will increase the foreign ownership of industrial projects, Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and Chairman of the Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (ZonesCorp), revealed yesterday during the inauguration of Ducab's first copper rod plant and new cable factory in the UAE capital.

Responding to a question from Emirates Business about whether ownership would be 70 per cent or 100 per cent, Sheikh Hamed said: "Personally, I support the direction to allow foreigners to own industrial projects, because such ownership by investors will attract big foreign investments.

"In addition, allowing foreigners to own [industrial projects] is healthy for Abu Dhabi's economy. Such ownership will be well-planned."

He told reporters: "There are continual talks with the Federal Government in this regard. The study of raising the percentage of ownership for foreigners will be studied. The coming period will see the issuance of new legislation that will clarify accurately the foreign ownership of projects."

Ducab Chairman Ahmad bin Hassan Al Sheikh said: "We meet here today to inaugurate our firm's two new plants, the copper rod plant, which is the first of its kind in the UAE and the new cable factory which increases our capacity by 40 per cent.

"The $45 million (Dh165m) copper rod plant, which occupies an area of about three thousand square metres, has a production capacity of 110,000 tonnes of copper rods per year, which will be increased to 160,000 tonnes in the future."

Also production of the electric cable factory will increase to 55,000 tonnes of copper and aluminium from the current 33,000, he said.

Al Sheikh said the company will expand the production of low- and medium-tension energy cables while the second plant seeks to push its production of electric cables to 100,000 tonnes to become the second largest cable factory in the Gulf.

He said the main reason behind the company's Abu Dhabi expansions was the urgent need by Abu Dhabi market for the two factories' production. Also investment in Abu Dhabi can benefit from cheap and easily accessible energy as well as the big facilities offered by the Abu Dhabi Government in terms of industrial land and permits to set up big and small industrial projects.

Al Sheikh said the cable factory production now satisfies some 30 per cent of the market demand, adding the new expansions will push the plant's share to 45 per cent, while the rest of the demand will be covered through imports.

Ducab Executive Director Andrew Shaw said the copper rod factory occupies an area of 3,000 square metres and seeks, through its two new factories, to achieve 50 per cent growth compared to last year's rates.

The first Ducab factory in Dubai was opened in 1979 by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.