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Slowdown leaves ancillary sector looking at neighbouring countries

20 to 30 per cent increase in demand for its fire safety products in the GCC

Gulf News

Dubai: A slowdown in construction of new projects in the UAE has left the ancillary industry providing air conditioners and fire safety products looking towards neighbouring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries for growth opportunities, companies said on Monday.

“The number of new buildings being constructed has come down, so demand has also come down locally,” said A.R.Harshan, general manager of sales and marketing at Airmaster Equipment Emirates, an Ajman-based manufacturer and supplier of air quality and fire safety products. Meanwhile, it has seen a 20 to 30 per cent increase in demand for its fire safety products in the GCC.

The company is planning to expand its Riyadh-based air-conditioner manufacturing plant to increase production capacity by 30 per cent, according to Harshan.

“There’s more demand in Saudi Arabia from the commercial and housing side and this will continue because of Makkah and the religious tourism,” he said.

“Demand for air conditioners, while it has dropped by 30 per cent over the last three years in the UAE due to the slowdown in construction, has increased by 200 per cent in Saudi Arabia,” said Najeeb Khanfer, area manager for control and instrumentation at Saif Middle East.

“We compensate for the local market with Iraq in all our product ranges such as air conditioners and thermostats due to the rebuilding process there. It’s mainly for commercial buildings and government buildings, hospitals and ministers’ offices,” he said.

The GCC, plus Iran and Iraq, is up 4 per cent year-on-year to $2,475 billion in terms of construction projects planned and underway, according to a recent report by Citigroup.

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