Reuters expands base in Dubai

Thomson Reuters has unveiled its expanded regional headquarters in Dubai Media City.

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Thomson Reuters has unveiled its expanded regional headquarters in Dubai Media City, the culmination of a year that saw it hire 104 new staff throughout the Middle East and Africa. The modern offices overlooking the Gulf represent one of the few spots on the globe that has managed to enjoy a significant investment in journalism during the recession.

"While most companies have been looking at their strategies and trying to understand what to do with staff, we believe that the Middle East and Africa is a region that is growing, and as such have more staff coming in," said Basil Moftah, the company's managing director for Middle East and Africa. "We now have 135 people based in Dubai and 15 people based in Abu Dhabi, so this is quite a substantial operation. It's considered one of our largest offices globally."

The new hirings, which bring total staff numbers across the region to 520, were brought in to expand coverage of the region's 22 stock exchanges and the 2,000 regional banks connected through Thomson Reuters's trading systems, as well as deepen coverage in such areas as commodities, energy, equities and treasury. The company has appointed senior personnel in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon with expertise in Islamic finance, investment and advisory, and equities.

"Our biggest focus is obviously commodities and equities, given what's happened in the market," Mr Moftah said. He declined to say how large Thomson Reuters's investment in the Middle East and Africa expansion was, saying only that it was "definitely a double-digit, million-dollar investment". Joerg Floeck, the head of sales and customer services for the markets division, said the company was looking to spend US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) a year on new technology, and was pursuing equally aggressive expansions in Latin America, Brazil, China and India.

Thomson Reuters was formed in April last year when the Thomson Corporation of Canada bought Reuters, which was based in the UK. Today the firm has more than 50,000 employees and 197 news bureaus. Reuters opened its first office in the Middle East in Alexandria, Egypt in 1866, and launched its office in Dubai Media City in 2001 with between 60 and 70 staff members, Mr Moftah said. It has additional local sales and service offices in downtown Dubai, Dubai International Financial Centre and Abu Dhabi.

Mr Moftah said regional sales dipped in the second quarter, but the performance of the first and third quarter more than made up for it. "There was quite a lull during Q2 as businesses were rethinking what they were doing," he said. "But since then, there has been a real pick-up in the Middle East and Africa. We are looking at double-digit growth for the year."