Dubai: Dubai-based Indian businessman Balwinder Sahani bought the most coveted number plate D5 for Dh33 million at the Roads and Transport Authority’s number plate auction on Saturday.
Sahani, also known as Abu Sabah, is the owner of RSG International, a property management company, with interests in the UAE, Kuwait, India and the United States.
“I like collecting unique number plates and I am proud to have got this number. I like number nine and D5 adds up to nine, so I went for it,” said Sahani.
He said that last year he bought the vehicle number plate O9 for Dh25 million. “I have collected 10 number plates so far and I am looking forward to having more. It’s a passion. This number will go to one of my Rolls Royces,” he added.
The number generated great interest among the participants with the bid starting at Dh20 million.
The spectators seemed to have enjoyed every bit of the tense battle, cheering every move of the bidders.
More than 300 bidders participated at the live auction which takes place every two months, witnessing fierce battle between bidders for some numbers.
80 unique numbers were on offer on Saturday ranging from one two five digits.
“This is easily the biggest auction we have seen so far. The hall is packed with participants as well as those who have come to learn the trade and enjoy,” said, Ahmad Hashim Behroozian, CEO of RTA’s Licensing Agency.
He said that the number D5 has been the biggest draw in the RTA’s auction history, with many VIPs participating.
“We usually have a lot of plate traders participating. Plate trading is big a business and a lot of people are making good money out of it. We also organise special auctions for traders and issue permits for plate trading,” he said.
Apart from live auctions, the RTA organises online plate auctions every month.
RTA also sells distinguished number plates for fixed prices and he said that the auctions help set the price.
He said, apart from helping people make money, auctions help generate revenue for RTA’s never ending infrastructure projects.
The other number plate that attracted big money was Q77 which was bought by an Emirati bidder for Dh4.52 million.
A few other numbers bagged more than a million including P27 that went for Dh2.14m and R7777 went for 1.17m.
In June this year, Emirati businessman Arif Al Zarooni, bought Number 1 plate for Dh18 million in Sharjah.
In 2008, another Emirati businessman Saeed Al Khouri payed Dh52.2m for Number 1 licence plate in Abu Dhabi, which so far holds the record for the costliest number plate in the UAE.