UAE cable maker turns unrest into infrastructure opportunity

The cable-making joint venture between Dubai and Abu Dhabi hopes to export to Europe and post-revolution Libya.

Ducab, a cable-making joint venture between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, views the political change that swept parts of the region as a chance to grow.

The company, owned by the Governments of both emirates, makes copper rods and cables used to connect electrical grids. Ducab had been on the verge of exporting product to Libya before the uprising that broke out in February and had to hold the shipment because of the turbulence. Post-revolution Libya, however, could offer an even bigger market, said Ahmad Al Shaikh, the chairman of Ducab.

"With the new people in place, there is an opportunity to export higher quantities," said Mr Al Shaikh. While oil companies and banks have come up against obstacles stemming from the previous sanctions in Libya and political instability in parts of the Middle East, others see the new order as an opportunity.

"At the beginning of this year, the Arab Spring caused everyone to stop and worry," said Andrew Shaw, the managing director of Ducab. "But now it seems a force for good. In the GCC there is even more renewed effort on doing what they're already doing, which is building infrastructure and providing facilities for their citizens."

Demand for infrastructure is critical to Ducab, which yesterday opened a Dh500 million (US$136.1m) factory in Jebel Ali that will make high-voltage cables.

Among the projects it hopes to supply are the hook-ups for Abu Dhabi's planned nuclear plant, forecast to provide as much a quarter of the emirate's electricity.

Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the chief of the Court of the Crown Prince, said Abu Dhabi and Dubai could cooperate in other projects such as Ducab and Emal, an alumnium venture.

"Inshallah," he said. "Soon there will be partnerships in the domain of industry, the likes of Emal."

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Published: November 30, 2011 04:00 AM


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