Dubai South secures Dh4 billion funding line at Expo Milan

The Italian export credit company Sace has announced a €1 billion (Dh4.16bn) credit facility to assist the development of Dubai South.

The funding can be used for deals with Italian contractors or other goods and service providers from Italy for the development of Dubai South, which is the world’s first purpose-built Aerotropolis being overseen by Dubai Aviation City Corporation (Dacc).

An agreement for the funding was one of two signed at Expo Milan yesterday as part of an event marking the forthcoming closure of the 2015 Expo and looking forward to Expo 2020 in Dubai. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also inked with Abu Dhabi Ports to improve links between both parties.

The deal was signed by Dacc’s executive president Khalifa Al Zaffin and the chief executive officer of Sace, Alessandro Castellano.

“We have been using on a continued basis Italian technology as well as materials and goods in our developments including Dubai International Airport,” said Mr Al Zaffin. “We welcome Italian businesses to contribute to this great development with the support of Sace, which has been interacting with us together with other Italian agencies to bring a fruitful partnership.”

Mr Castellano said that the deal “will generate important opportunities for our companies, especially small and mid-size enterprises, in one of the UAE’s largest investment projects”.

He added: “Dubai South will involve a variety of sectors in which Italy has extraordinary experience, which we are certain will be employed in the new metropolitan area of Dubai, where Sace will be opening an office soon.”

Dubai South is a 145 square kilometre city being built around Al Maktoum International Airport. The airport itself will be the subject of $32bn worth of investment over the next decade with a view to making it the biggest in the world with a capacity of 220 million passengers.

The city will also contain the Expo 2020 site, a Dh25bn residential zone known as The Villages, a logistics and cargo district, a business park free zone, an aviation district and an Emirates Flight Academy.

Last month, Dacc signed agreements with consultants JLL and CBRE to bring in international investors to its business park free zone.

Sace currently has a portfolio of loans worth €78.5bn at September 30, which was a 5 per cent increase on the same period last year.

The organisation said that its MoU with Abu Dhabi Ports would formalise methods for boosting trade between the UAE and Italy through the sharing of information offering business opportunities for Italian companies that it could fund.

Already, Italian companies export €5bn in goods and services to the UAE, and bilateral trade between the companies has been valued at Dh30bn.

Italy is the UAE’s second-biggest trading partner in Europe, while trade with the UAE makes up more than half of Italy’s business in the GCC.

Mohammed Al Shamsi, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports, said: “By facilitating initiatives of mutual interest and expanding opportunities for trade and investment, Abu Dhabi Ports, the enabler of Abu Dhabi’s maritime business, is supporting our mission to realise the Emirate’s economic diversification.”

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