x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Rakia turns to Europe for $500m investments

Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (Rakia) is targeting European manufacturing companies as part of a plan to attract investments totalling US$500 million this year.

Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (Rakia) is targeting European manufacturing companies as part of a plan to attract investments totalling US$500 million (Dh1.83 billion) this year.

Khater Massaad, the chief executive of the authority, said he had been in discussions with companies in France and Spain about potential investments in the northern emirate.

"We have been targeting European manufacturers interested in expansion in the [Arabian] Gulf region," he said.

Mr Massaad had also been the chief executive of RAK Ceramics - one of the world's largest tile makers and one that he co-founded - until four weeks ago, when he was replaced by his nephew Abdallah Massaad, according to a market filing.

Yesterday, Khater Massaad declined to comment on the reasons for leaving the manufacturing giant beyond confirming that his contract had "expired".

He had led the tile maker, which exports to more than 150 countries, for more than 20 years.

The company disclosed the appointment of Abdallah Massaad as chief executive at the end of a regulatory filing last month to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange without further elaboration.

The filing did not refer to Khater Massaad directly.

RAK Ceramics generated about Dh3.3bn in annual sales last year, flat on the previous year. The company said in its full-year income statement published in April that it expected this year's revenue and profit to be broadly in line with last year's.

Khater Massaad is a high-profile businessman in Ras Al Khaimah with roles at several companies in the emirate.

His career started in the Middle East in the 1980s as a project manager on water projects in the UAE and Oman, according to his Bloomberg Businessweek profile.

He holds a master's degree in engineering and a doctorate in geophysics from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

scronin@thenational.ae

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