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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

UK opens dedicated Dubai office with £9bn fund for UAE projects

UK export finance team also has capacity to fund £4.5bn in Saudi projects

Illustration of the Dubai Arena. Photo Courtesy Meraas
Illustration of the Dubai Arena. Photo Courtesy Meraas

The Department for International Trade has set up a dedicated UK Export Finance Team in Dubai with a £9 billion (47bn dirham) fund to finance UAE projects and has another £4.5 billion for Saudi Arabian projects.

The office is based in the British embassy in Dubai and led by former investment banker David Moleshead and international export finance executive Hannah Greenwood.

"UKEF is now working on-the-ground with project owners to highlight opportunities to collaborate in priority growth sectors," Mr Moleshead said in a statement. Energy and infrastructures are thought to be among those sectors.

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UKEF - the UK government’s export credit agency - financed about £2 billion of GCC projects that procured UK exports between April 2016 and March 2017.

Paul Woodman, managing director of ASGC UK, was among the recipients in the past having secured UK export finance for Dubai-based developer Meraas Holding including a US$317.9 million (1.17bn dirham) loan for its Bluewaters project and a $220m loan to fund the Dubai Arena near the City Walks development.

UKEF has the capacity to fund £9bn UAE projects in the future and £4.5bn in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is expected to be a key market with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visiting London in early March to promote trade links.

The UK’s export credit agency allows overseas buyers of UK goods and services to borrow at competitive interest rates from banks with a guarantee backed by the UK government. The GCC is one of only four regions globally to have a dedicated UKEF team based in-market, in addition to Turkey, Indonesia and Brazil.