Golden Years

HH Sheikh Saqr bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, celebrated his 60th accession anniversary. In a remarkable display of love and affection for the region’s longest serving Ruler, thousands of citizens and residents poured into the streets of Ras Al Khaimah to take part in the festivities. Sheikh Saqr took the reins of the Emirate in 1948 and is the world’s second longest- serving ruler. surpassed only by King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.

Horsemen take part in the cavalry parade at the Accession Day celebration

Editor’s Note

Sustainable development
Sustainability has been a core theme of the development paradigm that Ras Al Khaimah adopted under the vision of HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler. The unique approach aims to ensure that development is in accordance with the culture and traditions of the place and at the same time there is no turning away from modernity when it comes to advances in science and technology. It is dynamic and yet avoids the reckless adventurism that is often associated with boom conditions; it is forward looking and yet puts long-cherished values ahead of crass commercialism. With the financial crisis taking its toll from coast to coast and border to border, it is clear that this approach is standing the emirate in good stead. Ras Al Khaimah is proving to be an oasis of stability in the stormy sea all around in the aftermath of an unprecedented economic tsunami. The RAK Investment Authority (RAKIA) has been a key vehicle in the pursuit of this development strategy and its contribution in this effort has been applauded time and again. Sterling Publications is pleased to partner with RAKIA in producing RAK Today, the first issue of which is in your hands. The magazine will seek to communicate the message about RAKIA’s powerful role in creating a more prosperous Emirate to larger and farther audiences.


K Raveendran
Managing Editor Sterling Publications

MANAGING EDITOR K Raveendran PUBLISHER & MANAGING DIRECTOR Sankaranarayanan EDITOR Manju Ramanan CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Vanit Sethi Linda Benbow Ambily Vijaykumar CREATIVE DIRECTOR Harikumar PB DESIGNER Ujwala Ranade Loft Office 2, G 01, Dubai Media City P.O. Box 500595, Dubai, UAE. Website: Email: India: Anand Vardhan, DII/89, Pandara Road, New Delhi 110003. Bahrain: Suniz Publication W.L.L., P.O.Box. 2114, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. Tel: 00973 17276682. PRINTING: Asiatic Printing Press L.L.C., PB 3522, Ajman, UAE. Tel: 06 743 4221. Fax: 06 743 4223., Email: DISTRIBUTION UAE: Dar Al Hikma Tel: 04 2665394, Fax: 04 2669827 Sultanate of Oman: Al-Atta’s Distribution Est. Kuwait: The Kuwaiti Group for Publishing & Distribution Co. Bahrain: Al Hilal Corporation Qatar: Dar Al-Thaqafah Saudi Arabia: Saudi Distribution Company PHOTOGRAPHER Sagar SALES AND MARKETING General Manager (Sales & Marketing) Radhika Natu Product Manager Vijayan G Sr. Advertisement Executive Sanjana Antony Accounts & Administration Biju Varghese Office Co-ordinator Daisy Cartagena Orfrecio Circulation Supervisors Ibrahim A. Hameed Saleem K U


Page 36- 39

Cover Story

The Glitterati invests in RAK Page 8-9 Page 50- 51

Future Perfect
Page 12-13

Ecology in Practice
Yasmin Village profile

HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi calls for investment in RAK

Page 60-61


Lifestyle Landmark
Al Hamra Mall

Dynamism in Action An interview with Dr Khater Masaad, CEO RAKIA

Page 64-65

Page 16-20

Back to the Future
Manar Mall


Investment Magnet A profile of RAKIA

Page 66-67

Page 68-69

Page 24-25

RAK on a Roll
Progress in RAK

Desert Enclave
Page 70

Banyan Tree Resort

Page 27-40

Industrious RAK
Dabur Naturelle Mabani Steel Ashok Leyland JBF RAK RAK Steel Guardian RAK ARC International RAK Offshore

The Hearth of Business
Acacia Hotel


Page 72-73

The Doors Beyond
RAK’s own film-maker

Page 74-80

Page 46- 47


Real Estate

Survival of the Fittest Interview with Mohammed al Qadi

Page 48-49

Keen on development
RAKEEN projects

January 2009



With its pulse clearly on the industrial sector, Ras al Khaimah has created its own story, at its own pace
to the wealth of UAE’s spirit of enterprise and entrepreneurship is the emirate of Ras al Khaimah, which has created its own story, with some of its super successful brands like RAK Ceramics entering the academic syllabi in universities and being included in the league of Superbrands 2009. RAK has also been recently voted the Middle East’s most attractive investment destination by the Financial Times Group’s FDI magazine. Spearheading its progress is the emirate’s visionary leader, HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler, who believes that the government must act and perform like a business unit. A shining example of this approach is the Ras al Khaimah Investment Authority (Rakia), which is one of Sheikh Saud’s important initiatives in this regard. Under the leadership of Dr Khater Massaad, its dynamic CEO,Rakia has attracted several local as well as international companies to establish base in the emirate, across a wide range of sectors be it construction, real estate or manufacturing. Encouraging investors and supporting them throughRakia, Sheikh Saud has always motivated the spirit of enterprise. Speaking on the inauguration of the $150 million-Guardian RAK Float Glass Plant, Sheikh Saud stated that the presence of global leaders like Guardian reflects the advantages Ras Al Khaimah holds out for



HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras al Khaimah

industries to make the emirate their base in the region. Similarly, Sheikh Saud described the inauguration of RAK Steel plant at the Al Ghail Industrial area as yet another successful enterprise in the growing line of industries setting up operations in the emirate. Constantly on the move, be it holding discussions with heads of state

of various countries, supporting various projects within the emirate and outside, Sheikh Saud believes that successful entrepreneurship is closely linked with a successful government. “We are an emirate that doesn’t have oil, so the question for us has been how to create sustainable economic development without oil revenues, how to create wealth and how

HH Sheikh Saud alongwith Russ Ebeid, President of Guardian’s Glass Group, at the inauguration of Guardian RAK plant

to create new landscapes when funds are limited. In our minds, the number one issue that needs to be addressed by any small or big, rich or poor country is the question of governance,” he said in a speech at the RAK Conference 2008. “The single common denominator that all countries and states share is that no country can be really successful without first having an active and successful government. It is like the roof under which the business community and people are living, providing the much needed shelter and stability from the storms of life and the world at large. It is important therefore to create a financial structure in the government whereby the government becomes a model for the private sector,” Sheikh Saud explained. The rising profile of the emirate has attracted not only industrial and corporate leaders from various parts of the world, it has also brought in celebrities. Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan recently launched a Dh 8 billion beachfront residential development project named Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard at the Dana Island, along with the TSA Group. Welcoming the actor and appreciating his interest in Ras Al Khaimah’s fast- growing property and lifestyle development sector, Sheikh Saud pointed out that landmark projects like Dana Island, Al Marjan Island along with other initiatives

will place the emirate in a totally different league, making it a destination of choice for investors and tourists from across the world. “Projects like Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard will definitely add more value and variety to the lifestyle offerings available here”, he said. Resolved to make RAK an emirate where people don’t compromise between working and living as they can do both, Sheikh Saud is upbeat about real estate projects. Lifestyle projects like Bab Al Bahr significantly boost the emirate’s reputation as a key business and leisure destination in the Middle East. The Government of Ras Al Khaimah has finalised plans to invest heavily in the emirate’s logistics sector to enhance growth and business competitiveness.“ With a view to make the emirate more competitive, we will be making big investments in our logistics facilities through creation of new highways and ports. We have upgraded Mina Saqr Port to make it the main gateway for the emirate and the biggest port for bulk handling in the region,” Sheikh Saud said. The Mina Saqr Port has been able to make a ten-fold increase in its scale of operations during the last five years, from three million tonnes in 2003 to 30 million tonnes this year. The expansion of Ras Al Khaimah Port, which will have a 2- km quay wall with storage facilities and business park near RAK town, is progressing along

with the development of the new Al Jeer Port, meant to cater to mid- size ships. Also being built is a 5- km long quay wall in Khor Khuwair, adjacent to the industrial park for providing direct water access to companies. Along with industrial growth, Sheikh Saud is extremely conscientious about respecting the environment. Conscious efforts are being made to ensure that the rapid economic growth is sustainable and without adverse environmental impact.“ RAK Government has factored in sustainability to its growth agenda and is working on how to create growth without reducing the quality of life. The new Gateway City that would come up in RAK is being master planned to reduce carbon footprint and would have kilometres of walkways along with a mass transit system. It will be a modern and efficient city with buildings designed to reduce energy consumption,” he says. Sheikh Saud is constantly in touch with heads of state and other foreign dignitaries on facilitating inward or bilateral flow of investment. Several high profile foreign delegations have called on Sheikh Saud, including those led by HE Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya, HE Amani Abeid Karume, President of Zanzibar, HE Armen Gevorgyan, Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia, HE Lado Gurgenidze, former Prime Minister of Georgia, and many others. Georgian President HE Mikheil Saakashvili visited RAK in February, 2007 which was followed by a visit by Sheikh Saud to Georgia in June 2007. Education is another top priority area for Sheikh Saud and as a result several foreign universities have set up base in the emirate. “In today’s culture, we have a choice of absorbing cultures through schools. Children today have a choice of going to a French school, a Chinese school or an American school. The wealth of this variety helps us learn from each other,” he said at the launch of the American School in RAK recently. “A school brings people together. Slowly, parents might consider moving to RAK, for the lifestyle it offers,” he said.



Saqr park - a child’s haven

Greens beckon leisure and fun!


With two sprawling golf courses, RAK invites golfers from across the UAE and outside


Dynamism in Action
Ras al Khaimah represented by RAKIA, has been awarded the Middle East’s most attractive investment destination award and has pulled more than $2.2 billion investments from international companies to locate in the emirate’s free zone and industrial zones. Ras Al Khaimah Today speaks to the dynamic Dr Khater Massaad, CEO, RAKIA.



ow do you chart out Ras Al Khaimah’s growth in the last one year? What has been its main sphere of achievement? In 2007, Ras Al Khaimah achieved 15 per cent growth in GDP, while the UAE enjoyed 9.3 per cent growth. This growth was due in part to our major property developments of course but also because of the continuous development of our industrial and manufacturing base, where, a steady stream if industrial projects has continued to increase. Ras Al Khaimah (represented by Rakia) was named by FDI Financial Times as the Middle East’s most attractive investment destination. It is a significant achievement, as it rewards Rakia’s mission: to be the most efficient and investor friendly investment Authority, to create the most favourable environment for business to flourish and consequently, to be the engine of Ras Al Khaimah’s development. How do you see RAK sail through the current credit crunch? How has the emirate transformed its challenges into opportunities? Being a hydrocarbon poor emirate, we obviously need to finance some of our projects using external financing. We are successful in securing this finance, thanks to our excellent credit ratings. Hence all our projects are on track and in this sense

the financial challenges were overcome. Again, considering the size of the emirate, its existing projects and its industrial development, which I believe, lies at the core of the real growth, our opportunities will increase because we have reduced our risks and we will come out stronger and reinforced from the present crisis. Industrial and manufacturing investors will generate demand for housing, schools, medical and all kinds of ancillary services. When you consider what we have achieved in three years, with a number of major enterprises already operating and stimulating demand, you can begin to understand our development model and why we are confident in these times of economic uncertainty. Which are the new companies that have opened in RAK and what have been their investments? Rakia has attracted more than $2.2 billion investments across a large portfolio of

international companies to locate in our Free zone and Industrial zones. Companies such as Guardian Glass, Ashok Leyland, Ducholux, Arc International, Franke, Mitsui, Kludi, Kirby, Ghani Glass, Dabur India and Falcon International give you an idea of the calibre I am talking about. In recent times, we have added to our client base names like Becker Paints (France), Grasim Industries (a flagship company of Birla Group, India), Posco (Korea), Novus Sealing (UK) and SIKA (Switzerland). Many more international companies are in the pipeline and are expected to commence business with Rakia soon. RAK has been an entrepreneur-friendly emirate that doesn’t take long to process business proposals. Do you see it as its greatest USP? As I mentioned, Ras Al Khaimah was named the most attractive investment destination by a well respected international business

Ras Al Khaimah was named by FDI Ras Al Khaimah was named by FDI Financial Times as the Middle East’s most as the Middle East’s most Financial attractive investment destination. ItIt is attractive investment destination. is a significant achievement, as it rewards a significant achievement, as it rewards Rakia’s mission Rakia’s mission

analysis publication. Obviously how we treat our visitors is the crucial element that determined why more and more companies and entrepreneurs are doing business with Rakia. We strive continuously to provide an efficient and customer-centric service. Our sales executives frequently follow up with their clients after contracts have been signed and develop a relationship that guarantees that we are perfectly aware of the needs and problems faced by our investors, so that we can continue to best assist them. Again, our only objective as far as investors are concerned is that their business flourishes, because that is a prerequisite for our own success and development. Other USPs include the strategic location of Ras Al Khaimah, providing easy access to ports both on the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, an international airport with modern cargo handling facilities, the climate of the Emirate and a geographical diversity that offers residents a wonderful quality of life. Which are the promising companies according to you that will follow the success story of RAK Ceramics? An industrial success story is the result of a number of elements. When developing the business of RAK Ceramics, I certainly enjoyed an environment which was free of red rape that allowed us to concentrate on the essence of business: understanding the market and creating the right products, selling them while developing the most performing and cost effective production processes. We make it our top priority to maintain, I should say improve, this environment so that each company that comes to Rakia to start business enjoys the best conditions to potentially turn its business into a success story. In business, time is a crucial factor. We want the time between the investors decision to invest, and when they start production, to be as short as possible. Self-sufficiency is an important aspect to the emirates. In which industries do you see Ras Al Khaimah achieve complete self sufficiency? I would argue that in a global world enjoying

more and more free trade, self sufficiency is only important in a limited number of strategic areas that most of the time involve national security. In today’s world, what is important is competitiveness and the successful countries are those that developed competitive advantages. We strive at identifying the sectors for which we can develop our own competitive advantages and thus attract industries from these specific sectors from all over the world. This means of course, integrating all parameters of competitiveness: cost, location, labour, resources, social infrastructure etc. One important element in building up our own competitiveness is obviously the quality of our infrastructure and availability of utilities. In this respect, we are devoting a lot of energy and resources in developing self sufficiency in water and power supply, with a long term and holistic view of the development of the whole Emirate. With a host of development projects in the emirate, how do you plan to address urban planning in terms of parking spaces, pedestrian spaces, community centres as well as green environment? His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr al Qasimi has a clear view; I should say vision, of how the emirate will look in a decade and thoroughly evaluates all the requirement to make life pleasant here for all the residents of Ras Al Khaimah. The government places quality of life on the top of its priorities. Hence, planning is essential, not to mention that it is also a condition for the best allocation of resources. We have, therefore appointed the most competent consultants in all the areas you mention in your question and work with them to best shape the emirate, with the individual residents at the core of our concern. What are your plans to boost tourism, and in particular to promote the cultural heritage and tourism of Ras Al Khaimah? RAK Tourism (which is a business unit of Rakia) is very active locally and internationally attending tradeshows, running promotional campaigns and public

relations exercise to promote Ras Al Khaimah as a tourism destination. In 2008, tourism contributed 2.26 per cent of the GDP which is an increase of approximately 0.5 per cent. This year we will increase our product offering by opening the Banyan Tree Desert resort, the Acacia Hotel and the Al Hamra Conference Centre. These properties make it possible for Ras Al Khaimah to attract meetings and incentive business, to do more in the corporate sector and to offer an exclusive high-end spa experience. To stimulate further tourism growth, the government has invested $2 million

Dr Khater Masaad, CEO Rakia

upgrading facilities at Ras Al Khaimah International Airport. This work will be completed by the end of 2009 and will increase the airport passenger capacity to approximately one million per annum. RAK Tourism has for a number of years worked on an ‘action plan’ for the development of heritage tourism in association with RAK Department of Antiquities and Museums to preserve the emirate’s historical sites. In conclusion, the Government of Ras Al Khaimah recognises that a strong and robust tourism industry will contribute to an overall robust economy for the emirate. Over the long term, it will bring direct foreign exchange and foreign investment to the economy. So, it is fair to say tourism is a vital and expanding part of our economy.



S&P affirms RAK ‘A/A-1’ Ratings
Outlook Stable and the ratings ‘underpinned by the relatively strong wealth enjoyed by RAK citizens’, with GDP per capita expected at $16,200 in 2009, says leading sovereign rating agency



& Poor’s Ratings Services has affirmed its ‘A’ long-term and ‘A-1’ short-term sovereign credit ratings on the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. The outlook is stable. S&P said its ratings on RAK rest primarily on ongoing support from the federal government and the likelihood of extraordinary support in the event of financial stress. The federal government funded mostly by Abu Dhabi and underpinned by that emirate’s oil wealth, meets almost all the current expenditure costs of the seven emirates, while major capital costs are also borne at the federal level. Individual emirates, including RAK, have limited fiscal obligations and consequently substantial fiscal flexibility, the agency said. “The ratings are underpinned by the relatively strong wealth enjoyed by RAK citizens, with GDP per capita expected at $16,200 in 2009, in line with the ‘A’ median,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Farouk Soussa. “RAK’s growth prospects appear relatively stable, with the overhaul of economic strategy since the appointment of HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qasimi as Crown Prince in 2003 resulting in a substantial rise in investment and diversification of the economic base. RAK’s modest debt represents around 24 per cent of GDP at year-end 2008 and, taking into account the government’s holdings of liquid assets, boasts a general

government net asset position that we estimate at around 8 per cent of GDP. That said, the predominance of equity stakes in local companies raises uncertainties over the valuation and liquidity of the portfolio in the event of domestic stress.” “RAK’s exposure to economic developments in the larger emirates and the region as a whole is a constraint on the rating. “Strong economic growth in the region, and in particular the UAE, has been the principal driver of fast-rising demand for RAK’s main industrial and mining products--cement, aggregate, ceramics, and glass--while the success of RAK’s rapidly developing tourism and real estate sectors depends on continued strong demand for these services in the region, and in particular in Dubai. The recent decline in global and regional demand, including the cancellation of a number of construction projects in Dubai, will have an impact on RAK’s near-term growth, although we expect an increase in demand from Abu Dhabi and other regional growth markets in the coming year to help offset some of the impact. We expect growth to slow to less than 5 per cent in 2009, from an average of 10 per cent over the previous three years. “The stable outlook reflects the balance between the risks posed by geopolitical issues and RAK’s exposure to the economic fortunes of the larger emirates and the broader region, with the near certainty of continued ongoing support from the

federation and the strong likelihood of extraordinary support from the federation (backed by Abu Dhabi),” Mr Soussa noted. ”Downward pressure on the rating could result from a deterioration in RAK’s economic prospects beyond the decline we have projected for 2009, or a deterioration in Abu Dhabi’s creditworthiness, which could affect our assessment of likely support to RAK from the federation. A positive rating action could follow an easing of regional geopolitical tensions, the successful implementation of RAK’s development strategy, particularly with regard to real estate and tourism, or an improvement in Abu Dhabi’s creditworthiness.” Standard & Poor’s is the leading provider of financial market intelligence to customers in the Gulf’s credit risk management, wealth management, and data and information markets. Since entering the region in the early 1990s, Standard & Poor’s has become the largest provider of credit ratings in the GCC, rating 114 issuers. In equity markets, Shariah-compliant versions of Standard & Poor’s global and regional equity market indices - S&P 500, S&P Europe 350, S&P Japan 500 and S&P/IFCI GCC - have created new opportunities for Islamic investors to benchmark their international investments and for asset managers to create new investment products serving the Islamic community. Standard & Poor’s Fund Services also launched a qualitative fund management rating service for regional asset managers in -2007.


Investment Magnet
Rakia has attracted over 1600 investors to Ras Al Khaimah in a short period of time

Rakia Performance Highlights…..

• •

About 1691 companies have so far been registered with Rakia. Overall composition of license issued so far-- Commercial- 484, Industrial-477, Consultancy -357, Trading-195 and Media-168 Investors have come from all over the world e.g. from the MiddleEast including UAE -37%,, Indian sub-continent including Pakistan, South-East Asia-35% & Europe-17%. Balance from Russia, CIS countries, USA and others. Industrial zone at Al Hamra with total area of 3 million sqm has been completely leased out to 91

• •

companies. Free Zone at Al Hamra with total area of 1.95 million sq mtr has been completely leased out to about 117 companies. The new “Al Ghail” industrial park, spanning 21 million sq mtr of which 3.70 , million sq mtr is Free Zone, already 6.20 million sqm has been leased to 259 companies. So far 11.14 million sqm of land has been leased out to 467 companies in free zone and industrial zones and 89 per cent of companies are in manufacturing activities.


Al Khaimah Investment Authority (Rakia) was established following the Emiri Decree No. (2)/ 2005 issued by His Highness Sheikh Saqr Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, with a mandate to promote and oversee the economic development of the emirate. In the process, it transformed Ras Al Khaimah into an investment destination with over sixteen hundred foreign investors setting up operations within the emirate in just a short period of time.

Total No of Licenses
up to 2006 up to 2007 up to 2008 287 1005 1691



Rakia chiefly operates chiefly operates the free zones for zones for foreign investors investors who wish to avail wish to avail full ownership of ownership of their businesses and businesses and enjoy tax and duty tax and duty exemptions exemptions.
Within just three years of its inception Rakia has more than 1600 companies under its portfolio. It has amassed over $2 billion in industrial investments, powering an unprecedented economic surge that has made Ras Al Khaimah one of the fastest growing emirates in the UAE and the region. Its aggressive expansion initiatives have consolidated the emirate’s reputation as an investment heaven for virtually all sectors; in fact, the licenses Rakia has issued show a remarkable balance among key sectors – 494 licenses to commercial companies, 477 to industrial firms, 357 to consultancy and service companies. 195 to Trading and 168 to Media companies. Rakia has also made significant investments in infrastructure and knowledge to attract world-class IT and technology companies. Rakia’s area of responsibility includes the Industrial Zone and the Free Zone in Al Hamra, and the Industrial Park in Al Ghail. Rakia chiefly operates the free trade zones for foreign investors who wish to avail full ownership of their businesses and enjoy tax and duty exemptions. Other key benefits being offered to foreign investors are 100 per cent capital and profit repatriation; easy availability of labour; easy licensing procedures; excellent port facilities; and absence of foreign exchange controls, trade barriers and quotas. Rakia also partners with investors who prefer to invest in businesses based





up to 2006

up to 2007

up to 2008

No of license year-wise
Up to 2006 Up to 2007 Up to 2008 287 718 686

800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 Up to 2006




Up to 2007

Up to 2008

Geographic trend of all types of licenses
6% 7%

3% 2%

RUS-CIS USA Misc. Asia Se Asia Rest of M/E UAE




Europe India

outside the free zones. It has partnered with various international companies in strategic projects like Nano-Technology, Blue-ray DVD manufacturing, Chemicals, Diapers and Cements. One of Rakia’s strategic investments is in the recently opened $50 million RAK Steel factory in Al Ghail, which was inaugurated by H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. RAK Steel is an energy-efficient, environment-friendly mill that will manufacture 500,000 tonnes of deformed

steel reinforcement bars annually, helping address the strong demand for steel, across the region. Rakia has substantial investment in the Infrastructure developments in Industrial and Free zone developments and also in Power plants in RAK More than managing free zones, Rakia also delivers a wide range of

complementary services to ensure investors are able to maximize their investment potential. Rakia offers investment advisory services and equity participation on selected projects, a key move that reinforces the investors’ trust and confidence. Recently, Rakia signed a memorandum of cooperation with Bank of Baroda in a move that is greatly beneficial to investors in the emirate. Under the agreement, the bank will provide financing to firms for their projects within Rakia’s free zone areas. Rakia has also formed RAKOFFSHORE, another innovative initiative that establishes a true offshore facility and regularity body providing complete offshore non-resident business registration and financial services. RAK’s investor friendly policies and flexibility has attracted an array of international brands including Guardian Glass, Arc International, Franke, Duscholux, Mitsui, Kludi, Becker Industries, Kempe, Ashok Leyland, Grasim cements (Aditya Birla Group) to name a few. It has made a global presence by embarking on several

License Type
up to 2006 2007 184 287 129 72 46 718 2008 178 129 167 113 99 686
78 287 129


Industrial Commercial Consulting / Services Trading

115 78 61 10 23 287

250 200 150 100 50 0
115 184 178 61 129 167


10 72 113

23 46 99

Up to 2006 Up to 2007 Up to 2008
Industrial Commercial Counsulting/Services Trading Media

Manufacturing sector break up
5% 6% 32% 2% 3%
Auto/ vehicles assembly Food Processing Wood products Electrical chemicals Others



17% 7%

Rubber & plastics Building materials Metal Products

mega projects internationally, including a $2 billion aluminium smelter project and a mega township project in India, several property development projects in Iran and the development of the Industrial Free Zone and port management of Poti in Georgia. Rakia also has a rapidly growing portfolio of property projects that have been commissioned to provide complementary facilities and provide more lifestyle options to investors. Rakia plans to have projects to the aimed at addressing practically all requirements of potential and existing investors in the emirate. The state-of-the-art Amenity Centre has been constructed in the Al Hamra region to be a multi-storey complex that will house corporate offices for a wide array of clients, including IT firms, financial houses, consultancies and several other new business ventures. Other Rakia projects that have been designed to enhance the business environment within Ras Al Khaimah include an 84 megawatt power plant at the Al Ghail Industrial Park which will be in operation by March-April 2009 and also another 250 Megawatt power in the next 2 years worth USD300 million, the Rakia Warehousing Complex wherein nine units will be put up in the

free zone and 10 within the industrial zone, Rakia Free Zone Custom House, sewage treatment plants, and regular upgrade and expansion projects for road networks as well as utilities and telecommunications infrastructure. Furthermore, to make Ras Al Khaimah a true lifestyle destination in the Gulf, a number of leisure and recreational facilities are now mushrooming across the emirate, including water-theme parks, amusement centres, flying clubs, golf courses and shopping centres – all of which wonderfully complement Ras Al

Khaimah’s plethora of natural attractions such as a captivating mountain range, sparkling beaches, unspoilt desert plain and even the pleasantly surprising stretch of greenery in the south. RAK offers total economic and personal freedom and is one of the safest places to do business. It is strategically located with state of the art infrastructure and logistics support. The conversion costs of manufacturing are one of the lowest globally, which makes it highly competitive for manufacturing. Driven by the vision of HH Sheikh Saud of transforming RAK as an ideal place to live and work, the master plan offers a plethora of lifestyle to tourists and business population alike. Apart from this, RAK ensures that all key inputs are offered to investors at competitive rates. Rakia’s ongoing success largely reflects the Ras Al Khaimah Government’s own success in establishing reforms, instituting new laws and regulations and enforcing policies that are hospitable to local, regional or international investors. Ultimately, the government’s proactive support and involvement in the ongoing economic revolution is aimed at raising the standard of living of both citizens and residents of the emirate, while ensuring long-term socioeconomic sustainability.

Overall Licence Trend
12% 10%
Trading Counsulting & Service


28% 21%

Commercial Industrial Media


POSCO Novus Sealing Track Infinity Engineering LLC KEC Global FZ LLC (RPG Group)

Country of origin
Korea UK Pakistan India

Sector/ Sub-sector
Steel products Industrial products Auto Components Steel products Electrical Cables Plastic pipes Float Glass Tableware SS Kitchen Products Bus & Truck Assembly Cement Polyester Chips and Film

Duscholux Zamil Steel Kirby Steel RAK Ghani Glass Dabur India MITSUI JAPAN Bosco Aluminium Mabani Steel RAK Steel Maas Profile (ME) FZE Cemento Engineering Zeo Plant Polymix International LLC Emirates Industrial Gases

Germany Saudi Arab Kuwait Pakistan India Japan India USA India Germany Ireland Germany Kuwait UAE

Sanitary Fittings Steel Fabrication Steel Fabrication Pharmaceutical containers Ayurvedic Products Heavy Fabrication Aluminium products Steel Fabrication Steel Fabrication Steel Fabrication Building Materials Chemicals polyurethane foam Mfg Industrial Gas


Cable & Wire Industries Llc Kuwait (NCCI Group) HDPE Pipe System Industry Llc (NCCI Group) Guardian Industries Arc International Franke Ashok Layland Pioneer Cement JBF RAK Kuwait USA France Austria India India India

Guardian’s new SunGuard Glass, made specially for the UAE weather conditions, is energy efficient and architecturally flexible.

Save Power with Eco Friendly Guardian Glass

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of float glass and fabricated glass products Guardian manufactures and supplies glass for the automotive industry with a variety of exterior products and is a significant player in the building materials distribution business. It is also the world’s largest producer of mirrors

Guardian Zoujaj International Float Glass Co. L.L.C.

“Guardian RAK”
P Box : 6297, Al Jazirah Al Hamra, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE .O. Tel.: +971-7-205-8000, Fax : +971-7-205-8001


Accolades to RAKIA
FDi ranks RAK as third Most Business-Friendly city and the third city with the Best Economic Potential
forecast, were scored on a pro rata basis, with the top city scoring 10 points and the lowest city zero. Under the economic potential, cities were asked to describe their economic potential – recent GDP growth, government initiatives and economic priorities while inward investment covered details of recent inward investment, including the volume and number of investments made during the past two years, the most significant investments made in 2007 (including the level of investment and number of jobs created) and the most significant investments of 2006. FDI strategy looked at the promotional strategy for attracting inward investment, including recent initiatives, incentives and regulatory changes introduced during the past two years.

Dr Khater Massaad receives the fDi award


Al Khaimah was ranked the third city with the best economic potential in the Middle East in the Financial Times FDi magazine’s rankings of the 200809 Middle East Cities of the Future awards. Only Dubai and Abu Dhabi were ahead of RAK at number one and two positions respectively. Ras Al Khaimah shared the third position with Cairo. RAK also ranked third in the category of Most Business-Friendly City and finished ahead of Abu Dhabi in this respect. The first two positions were taken by Dubai and Jeddah, with Manama sharing the honour with Ras Al Khaimah. Ras Al Khaimah also figured prominently in the Top 20 Middle Eastern Cities, taking the sixth position with 380 points. Dubai headed the table with


471 points while Abu Dhabi was third with 418 points. The rankings were decided after an elaborate procedure covering various aspects. Cities were asked to complete a tie-breaker question in which they outlined their unique selling point for investors. Answers to the questions were put before the magazine’s panel of judges. Cities were scored out of 10 for certain criteria, with 10 points awarded to the best city in each category. (In the categories of business friendliness and unique selling point, a maximum of 20 points was available.) Scores were awarded on the basis of cities’ answers and the judges’ own experience. Categories based on third-party data, for example 2009 national GDP growth


Promoting Enterprise
RAKIA participated in a number of international investor meets and exhibitions last year apart from receiving several investor delegations from Portugal, India, China, Singapore and EU countries. Some of them included, the Investor’s Meet with The Economist (UK) In London, an investor meet in Oslo, organised by the Oslo Chamber of Commerce to promote opportunities in RAK, headed by Dr. Khater Massaad, the Composites Europe ,Germany Exhibition, Industrial Conference organized by the Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Navigation of Gipuzkoa, Spain, the RAKIAEconomic Times Seminar, Investors meet in India - a conference on Investment opportunity attended by CEOs, CFOs , and other high level dignitaries and the EU- GCC Summit in London
HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras al Khaimah with NR Narayana Murthy, founder Infosys



Float Glass HH Sheikh Saud at the inauguration of Guardian RAK plant

Building with light
RAK float glass plant, the new $150million plant that started full production in September 2007 and turns out 700 tons of glass per day is used in automotive, commercial, residential and furniture applications. The company’s plants in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, apart from RAK, produce a combined capacity

of nearly 2000 tonnes per day assuring a seamless supply of glass for this growing region. “The plant will soon start manufacturing high- performance coated glass products including SunGuard, Guardian’s line of advanced architectural glass, following the installation of a high-tech coating machine,” added Russ Ebeid, President of Guardian’s Glass group.

An addition of nanotechnology, with advanced coatings produced on float glass and vacuum coater at the RAK plant, enables the manufacture of the SunGuard series of advanced architectural products installed on the Burj Dubai. These products help architects and developers to ‘build with light’ will be available in Ras Al Khaimah shortly.


Superbrand 2009

Council of Superbrands (that consists of eminent personalities from the world of branding) has judged RAK Ceramics as a super brand for 2009. Superbrands, also the world’s largest independent brand arbiter pays tribute to established brands all over the world with some excellent publications on them. Consequently RAK Ceramics features in the UAE Superbrands book 2009. To be voted as a Superbrand by an independent Council is a powerful endorsement and evidence of the brand’s standing for existing customers, potential customers, the media, suppliers, investors and employees of the brand’s exceptional status. In the UAE, the other brands that have enjoyed the Superbrand status are Cannon, DHL, Etisalat, IBM, MasterCard, Starbucks, Xerox, Emaar, Emirates Bank, Dubai Properties, Acer, Amlak, Colgate, Nakheel, Tamweel, Panasonic and a few others. RAK Ceramics will join this elite list for 2009 brands with Superbrands like Google, Microsoft, BBC LG, Samsung, FedEx, British Petroleum, British Airways and Sony.

New power plants in the offing

Safeer Mall Opens


-based Al Safeer Group has opened its fourth shopping and leisure complex in UAE - the Safeer Mall. The mall, sprawled over six acres was inaugurated by Ahmed Bin Amer, the RAK Director for EIDA, and saw about 30,000 visitors on its grand opening day.


new electricity plants with a total capacity of 740MW are being planned by the Ras Al Khaimah Government. Studies are on for a 2,000MW plant to meet the needs of the emirate’s future expansion too. The first plant at Al Hamra, with a capacity of 120MW, has been operational since November 08. An 80MW plant at Al Ghail Industrial City and another with a capacity of 40MW at Al Hamra will be ready for operation in June 2009. The combined cost of both plants will be $120million. And the fourth plant, with a capacity of 500MW, is due to open in September 2010. The plants will be entirely owned by the government, which will charge customers the same as the Federal Electricity and Water Authority.

The mall has secured contracts from major brands such as Damas, Springfield, Mother Care, Face Shop, Starbucks, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, UAE Exchange, Emirates Identity Authority and News Centre and features a major Safeer hypermarket as its flagship store, apart from 100 other retail outlets and 12 food and beverage outlets, Jungle Bungle family entertainment centre and parking of 240,000 sqft for 900 cars. It is strategically located in the heart of the local community area of Kharran.

Goodyear’s super service centre rolled out!


year’s authorised dealer, Swaidan Trading, has opened the UAE’s sixth Goodyear Super Service centre, in Ras Al Khaimah. The centre will offer a range of Goodyear tyres for all vehicle types, plus services such as tyre fitting, wheel balancing, wheel alignment and oil change. According to the company, more Goodyear service centres are being planned around the UAE.

can be installed by either the developer’s contractor or Unipod contractors. This innovative concept has proven highly successful in Europe where it has been used for over 40 by 90 per cent of new hotel construction. It is already proving a success in the Middle East’s hospitality construction market. Says Henrik Christiansen, CEO of Unipods; “We create customised bathroom pods in any shape or size with any interior finishes that a developer specifies. We even have our own architects and engineers who can help you.”

Unipods LLC launched


Rajhi Investment Group has formed a company in RAK called Unipods LLC that creates pre-engineered bathroom units for commercial and residential buildings throughout the MENA region. The bathroom pods are prefabricated and created by utilising innovative and sustainable construction techniques and delivered to the site as completed units - with showers, sinks, toilets and

even mirrors in place. They are read to be installed when the building is erected. The off-site construction reduces time, site traffic and environmental impact on the project. It also eliminates construction waste, usually produced by site contractors using traditional techniques, saving up to 20 percent. The pods are built to developer’s specifications and are available for both newly built and renovation projects and


Al Ghail Free zone is self sufficient in power and shortly, Al Hamra free zone, through the Al Hamra 1 power plant will meet the immediate requirement
capacity, power plants at RAKIA have now managed 250 megawatts of power, all within a year. That is shouldering nearly 50 percent of total power consumed. The Al Hamra 2 power station is in the tendering process and will take 12 to 18 months to start generating power, the Al Ghail power plant will be commissioned next month and the Al Hamra 1, under the commissioning process. “In addition to this, we are planning a coal based power plant at Mina al Saqr. Its Phase 1 will produce 600 megawatts to 3000 megawatts of energy and it is undergoing a feasibility study,” he adds. While the Al Ghail power plant is dedicated to the industrial area, the Al Hamra 1 will meet the immediate requirement of the region supplying power to the many industrial projects in the RAKIA free zone, industrial zone, Al Hamra village and RAK warehouse leasing areas. “Al Hamra 2 is for the future developments in this region and later both Al Hamra 1 and Al Hamra 2 will become one grid .

Power Drive

N Zakkir Hussain


of the most important segments of industrialisation is power. And now, RAKIA free zones have overcome, what was once an impediment. While FEWA (Federal Electricity and Water Authority) has been supplying some power to the emirate’s industrial areas, the growth of RAK’s industries and its power requirement, escalated much above the supply. “Early last year, we came to know that FEWA alone cannot meet Ras al Khaimah’s needs in the energy sector due to the emirate’s vast developments. Immediately RAKIA took a decision and planned for power plants that could take on the load. Eventually, three power plants were commissioned. An 80 megawatt power plant in Al Ghail, a 45 megawatt power plant at Al Hamra 1 and a 120-130 megawatt power plant at Al Hamra 2,” says N Zakkir Hussain, Advisor, Power and Water Projects, Government of Ras al Khaimah, RAK Investment Authority. While FEWA in RAK has a 550 megawatt


FEWA in RAK has FEWA has a 550 megawatt a 550 megawatt capacity, capacity, but power power plants RAKIA have plants at RAKIA have now managed 250 now managed 250 megawatts of power, megawatts power, all within a year. all within year.


Benchmarking Success
Creating world class ceramics, sanitary ware, faucets and porcelain, the RAK Ceramics group has several success stories
largest ceramics producer in the world, RAK Ceramics, now Superbrand 2009, started its operation in 1991 with a production capacity of 5000 sq m per day . In 2000, it opened its first international tile producing plant in Bangladesh followed by units in China, Sudan, India and Iran. Awarded the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award (MRM Business Award) for Industry for the year 2005, RAK Ceramics brand was rated as one of the top four brands of the UAE , and the topmost brand in the manufacturing sector in 2006 in a study conducted by Brand Finance Middle East of the United Kingdom. “Over the past 16 years, RAK Ceramics has created the largest and most exclusive product lines in the ceramic world with new styles offered every month, appealing to all market segments, such as interior designers and architects; engineers, major retail chains, corporates, do-it-yourself retailers and home owners” says Dr. Khater Massaad, CEO for RAK Ceramics. For the year 2008, the company has notched up sales of $ 717 million considering the worldwide operations in tiles and sanitaryware. Sales from the RAK plants touched Dh1.924 billion. Record sales for tiles touched Dh 1.631 billion and the sanitaryware section division at RAK recorded sales of Dh292.77 – an increase in value of about 29 per cent over the previous year. All their subsidiaries too have reported very good results for 2008. The RAK crest is now taken as an assurance of good value for money in the


ceramic market worldwide, and it has clearly rivalled the traditional advantage that many major Italian and Spanish manufacturers enjoyed in terms of quality and aesthetic standards in all market segments. Many interesting new developments in ceramic and porcelain tiles will be showcased, as is practice, at the Cevisama 2009. RAK Sanitaryware comes equipped with a sophisticated dual flushing system that results in a substantial saving of water. Both reflect a sound understanding of ergonomics as well as eco-friendliness. Joining hands with KLUDI of Germany, RAK Ceramics manufactures state-of-the- art bathroom and kitchen faucets / mixers and manufactures around one million pieces a year of top- of- the- line bathroom fittings. KLUDI RAK is equipped with the latest in European technology. RAK Porcelain, inaugurated by HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, in January 2006 was set up to repeat the success story

of RAK Ceramics by producing highgrade porcelain for the hotel industry. It caters to UAE’s mushrooming hospitality industry that shall see about 450 five star hotels in the region. RAK Porcelain has roped in three internationally acclaimed designers, Alain Vavro from France, Creativa (an Italian designer house) and Roufel from Germany. With products made from the highest quality of raw material imported from the famous mines of UK and Germany that produce fully vitrified high alumina porcelain, RAK Porcelain is accredited by standard authorities in UK, US and France and has achieved ISO9001:2000 status. The porcelain is higher edge chip resistant, higher scratch resistant and passes 65 regulations before being readied for sale. It is lead and cadmium free too. The commitment to promoting and investing in the best and most innovative technology has always been the bedrock of RAK Ceramics’ achievements.


The success The success story of RAK of RAK Ceramics Ceramics has entered entered the management the management study books the study books of the MBA programme of MBA programme of Georgetown University Georgetown University in Washington DC, USA. in Washington DC, USA.


But Naturelle(y)!
Naturelle LLC, part of Dabur International, (a subsidiary of Dabur India Limited, India’s fourth largest FMCG Company) brings the natural health of beauty secrets to Ras Al Khaimah
By Manju Ramanan
the efficiency and economy of scale. We wanted to construct an efficient, Regulatory & cGMP compliant factory which would cater to our growing markets for the next five years and beyond. And between Dubai Investment Park and RAKIA free zone, we chose the latter because the atmosphere here was cooperative and conducive. We got excellent support and the project work has been really fast. When we look back, we know that we took the right decision,” he states. The foundation stone for Naturelle was laid by Dr. Khater Massaad, CEO RAKIA on 26th June 2007 and the actual construction started on July 15th, the same year and by July 2008 production had already begun
Dabur Naturelle factory

A Subba Rao


are handed some easy-to-wear factory gear as we are taken on a guided tour to the Naturelle factory at RAK. This is after Factory Manager, A Subba Rao, has shown us a blue print of the unit that is well planned and extremely well organised so as to maximise total functionality. The Dabur Naturelle factory produces shampoos, hair oils, hair care products as well as toothpastes. Naturelle has an estimated investment of about 8-10 million dollars and is a subsidiary of Dabur International Ltd. Naturelle at RAK is Dabur’s third manufacturing facility in the UAE with the other two located in Jebel Ali and Sharjah. While the new unit will cater to the GCC


We have stringent have stringent measures when measures when it comes to comes to maintaining hygiene maintaining hygiene since it is a personal it is a personal care products products factory factory
markets, South-East Asia, the US, UK and Europe markets, Dabur has manufacturing units in Egypt as well as Nigeria to cover major countries in Africa. Rao, who has established the RAK factory as Project Manager, explains the presence of Dabur in the UAE and then at RAK. “We started off in UAE in 1992 and in 1999 we took over Weikfield’s international business. Over the years the business has been growing and we were on the look out for a large scale factory operation with

Recently, the Ministry of Health, UAE, has recognised Ayurveda as a complementary (alternate) system of medicine. Dabur being a pioneer and market leader in India for Ayurveda and herbal remedies, has a great potential in this field. The management of Dabur International is evaluating the opportunities to serve the regional market. Dabur is already established in the fields of herbal based oils and personal care products, in the MENA region and have presence in food, digestives and drinks. on all the lines. “By September’08 we had already achieved the first year targeted capacity,” he adds. Rao guides us through the products that will be manufactured and distributed from the RAK factory. “There are Dabur Amla Hair oils, Dabur Vatika Hair oils that have ingredients like olive, gherghir and cactus, Dabur Vatika Naturals hair cream range and the new Dabur Amla hair cream range and Dabur Meswak toothpaste. These products are specifically designed for this market and are not available in India. “We have a capacity of 6000 cases per day and about 150,000 cases of different products per month,” he states. As we are shown through various manufacturing halls where oil, cream, shampoo and toothpaste are produced, Rao explains that the products from here go to more than 40 countries and cover the entire GCC market. “We also supply to all MENA region, Levant, Africa, and South East Asia besides US, UK & Europe,” he adds. Ask him how the clientele in this part of the world is taking to Dabur’s Naturelle and he states that while people of Indian origin know Dabur, the nationals of GCC countries are equally familiar with Dabur products “Dabur Amla and Dabur Vatika are well known brands in the Arab region, an advantage for the other products,” he adds.

Dabur India Limited is India’s fourth largest FMCG Company with interests in health care, personal care and food products. It has a portfolio of household brand names like Amla, Vatika, Chyawanprash, Hajmola, Dabur Glucose-D, Dabur Honey, Gulabari, Promise, Odomos, Odonil, Sanifresh, Lal Dantmanjan, Babool, Nature Care and Pudin Hara. Recently Fem Care Pharma company has been acquired by Dabur India Ltd.

What about an R& D laboratory here? “We have a state of the art R&D Centre in India, with a dedicated wing catering to the International Business. At Naturelle, in Ras Al Khaimah, we have an ultra modern testing laboratory which has facilities to conduct microbiological, analytical, packaging and chemical tests on all our raw materials, packaging materials and products, so as to meet the requirements of not only the

The New Delhi-based company, founded in 1884, has three major strategic business units – Consumer Care Division, Consumer Health Division and International Business Division. During the early ‘80’s, Dabur’s international business was primarily focused on fulfilling orders and trading activities using the manufacturing facilities of India. As exports expanded during the 90’s, a new company with a manufacturing unit was set up in Dubai under the name ‘Redrock’. During this period, the turnover increased by 10-fold over the previous decade. The International Business Division has been clocking over 50% compounded growth rates in sales for the last few years.

local authorities but also the more stringent requirements of European and US markets which are all serviced from here,” he states. Are there any products that are sourced locally? “The key herbal ingredients come mostly from India but bulk ingredients are purchased locally, so are packing materials and boxes,” he adds. And, do they have any plans for expansion? “We have built in expansion space within our existing factory and if we plan a second factory, it can stand as an independent unit within the campus,” he states. Most of the staff at the factory comprises of Indians and Nepalis. “We have stringent measures when it comes to maintaining hygiene since it is a personal care products factory. The infrastructure of the place is well planned to accommodate all our current as well as future needs,” he adds.



Goodwill is the Best Investment
Believe in people power



Steel LLC is a designer, manufacturer and erector of PreEngineered Steel Buildings (PEB) and Hot Rolled Structural Steel (HRSS) equally owned by the Al Rajhi Investment Group (ARIG) Company and the Raed Al Mashal Business Group (both prominent and reputable Saudi Arabian business groups). In fact, Al Rajhi is one of the ten largest business groups in Saudi Arabia and one of the top five Saudi investors in the UAE. Bringing experience and expertise to the group is the President of Mabani Steel at RAK, Muayyad Khudairi, an Iraqi American with 30 years experience in this field with various big steel companies. An engineer from Cambridge Massachusetts, Muayyad and his colleague Ken Krieger, a German American started the RAK unit. “Ours is the only PEB and HRSS plant in the same area in this region. We produce 6000 tons/ month of PEB and 2000 tons of HRSS. There is no factory in the USA that does that,” he adds. Pre engineered buildings are cost effective and used majorly in USA, the GCC and China. Now India is also picking up the trend. They are a smart way of building. The market for PEB and HRSS is Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Jordan, Sudan, Djibouti, Libya and Liberia. Khudairi states that the steel market is vast and Mabani steel is a very small part of it. “We are very small and not even 5 %. In the last 3 months, our volume of orders has gone down by 60 %. Our colleagues

tons of HRSS/ month. And what are their plans at expansion? “We are thinking of Saudi Arabia since power and life are much cheaper there. Africa happens to be another option too,” he adds. “Though we are veterans in this field, our company is very young. And realistically speaking, we don’t want to think we are eight feet tall when we are but five feet,” he states. But he does add that goodwill is a great investment. “All my life I have helped a lot of people and supported them and

“We are five feet tall and don’t want to are five feet tall and don’t want think that we we eight feet tall.” to think that are are eight feet t
Muayyad Khudairi, President Mabani Steel LLC

now, they are supporting me. Goodwill goes a report the same. But we are positive that long way,” he states. we will come out of this situation. This year, we shall even make profits,” he states. “Our main market is 53 % in the UAE and 33% in Saudi Arabia and the rest are in Qatar, Oman, Ghana and Karachi. About 47 % of what we create is exported. Iraq used to be a good market too,” he adds. The RAK plant creates 6000 tons of PEB/ Meet the team at Mabani Steel month and 2000


Transporting Intelligence
Ashok Leyland to roll out 2000 buses every year in RAK
Leyland, the 2nd largest commercial vehicle manufacturer and the flagship of the Hinduja Group in India has set up an integrated bus and chassis assembly plant in RAKIA Free Zone with an investment of Dh 70 million which will have a capacity of 2,000 buses a year. It will be the only bus unit in the UAE and will strengthen the Company’s hold in the market of which they already have 62% in addition to 50% of the GCC market. Sprawled over 60,000 square meters with an additional 40,000 sq square meters reserved for later use, the Unit will strengthen Ashok Leyland’s hold in the market according to K M Mandanna, Vice President – Manufacturing, Ashok Leyland



KM Mandanna, VP, Manufacturing

(UAE) LLC. Apart from the Gulf market, the capacity of the Unit will also be used to meet demand in the African market. Sold through Swaidan Trading, the Authorised dealer in UAE , the buses have been a regular sight in the UAE for a long time. “Our buses have been associated with industrial as well as school use,” he states. The RAK plant has a commercial vehicles

license which the Company can utilise to expand the product offerings in future. Ashok Leyland supplies 5000 buses to this region and about 2500 buses to the UAE per year. The MoU with RAKIA was signed in 2006, construction began in mid 2007 and the RAK plant is presently awaiting approval though trials have begun. “Production will start from next month. Most of the material comes to us as semi knocked down kits which are assembled here. But we will soon explore the potential of this region as well. Rakia has many companies that produce parts and components which we can use – glass and aluminium for instance. We hope to get to a stage where we can source most of our raw material locally,” says Mandanna. The unit now employs 100 people. It has its own labour accommodation, with a sports facility planned in the near future. “We believe in taking care of our people. We have provided comfortable living facilities, recreational areas, entertainment and a good canteen,” he adds. In about two years, Mandanna sees the manpower increasing to 250 people. One of Ashok Leyland’s main markets is the one for school buses, a segment that is undergoing change with stricter safety regulations in place. “The norms for the school buses are stricter now. Safety is a priority. Fire extinguishers, speed governors ( that restrict the speed limit of a school bus to 80 kms /hour), padded seats, seat belts, anti skid mats are some of the things mandatory in school buses in the UAE and we are prepared to meet and even surpass these,” says Mandanna. Ashok Leyland is the leader in the

passenger segment in India with the widest range of buses that include the vestibule and double decker buses for which the Company is the sole Indian source. The Company has pioneered rear-engine and CNG buses in India. At Auto Expo 2008 in New Delhi, Ashok Leyland unveiled the iBUS, a future-ready, feature-filled concept vehicle developed by a team of young engineers. For the first time on Indian roads, the bus displayed separate ‘executive’ and ‘economy’ sections. Electronics in engine management, air suspensions, passenger infotainment were some of the features. Recently, the Company bagged a Rs. 4.88 billion order from the Delhi Transport Corporation for 875 ultra-modern Ultra Low Entry buses. This is for the first time that Ashok Leyland has been contracted to offer a comprehensive urban transportation solution where besides delivering these fully-built buses, the Company will train key personnel like drivers and mechanics and will maintain the buses to ensure uptime, by setting up exclusive maintenance depots as part of a 12-year, Rs. 7.1 billion maintenance contract.


PET Project
RAK is a USD 220 Million investment in emirate of Ras Al Khaimah by an Indian group JBF Industries Limits. The project has been set up in collaboration with RAKIA under the supervision of JBF Groups Chairman Sh B C Arya. JBF Group is a multi-location industrial conglomerate focussed on polyester manufacturing for Fiber, Textiles & Packaging Industry The manufacturing unit in RAKIA Free Zone is a green field 330,000 MT per annum state of the art facility dedicated for production of PET (polyester resins) & BOPET (bi axially oriented polyester) films for packaging industry. The resins & films produced in JBF facilities are marketed under ARYA PET brand which is the most renowned industrial brand for packaging products in Middle East. The client base for JBF includes all major brand owners in beverage & packaging industry like Nestle, Cocoa Cola, Pepsi, Masafi and Al Ain. JBF exports resins & films to more than 70 countries globally apart from meeting local demand for the product in UAE & GCC. “JBF RAK is emerging as a most preferred supplier for all our clients across globe especially in EU Zone due to our excellent service & logistics capability” states Rohit Maindwal, President, JBF RAK. Unaffected by the current crisis, Maindwal states that most of JBF products are supplied to an industry which in turn caters to basic human necessities, “We don’t foresee any demand crunch in that segment as of now,” he

JBF RAK is linked to the essentials industry that has a long life


Rohit Maindwal, President, JBF RAK


stays. However he adds that “In case of any population exodus from middle east due to poor economy & job losses the overall consumption may have a negative effect in long run.” he states. A former Reliance executive, Maindwal came to RAK in 2006 and started operations in the RAK factory. Ask him what are the advantages of setting up the plant at RAK and he’ll list three main reasons. 1) RAK is an extremely efficient port of call for shipping lines entering Gulf region and hence has a robust shipping infrastructure which is accessible for exports to US and European markets. About 5000 – 10000 tons of shipment can be planned in a week’s time and for smaller orders like 200 containers, all you need is a couple of days. This has helped build the Arya PET brand. 2) Raw materials are available in plenty in the region.Monoethylene glycol is

sourced from Saudi Arabia’s SABIC and the import of raw material is imported from Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. 3) Almost 600,000MT per annum of demand in larger middle east region for PET products can be reached by road transport for JBF & the company has clearly identified it as its home market in long run. But what about the environmental consciousness associated with PET bottles? In the current times does he see recycling PET as an important necessity? “Yes, of course. PET can be recycled. 20 percent of recycled products can be reused and the rest is converted into fibre. Recycled PET is used to make egg trays, vegetable and fruit trays, bottle cans et al,” he adds. And what are their plans at expansion? “We have lot of emerging markets in PET 2000-06 2.8 4.1 6.5 11.8 13.0 4.2 2007-10 3.2 4.6 6.0 9.0 6.6 2.6

World GDP Growth Polymer Demand Growth Polyester Demand Growth PET Demand Growth Capacity Growth Demand / GDP
Figures are in percentage

demand perspective. Globally the demand is likely to grow by almost a million MT per annum, we have expanded our facility in RAK from 220 KTPA to 330 KTPA. For future growth JBF is exploring further options for backward integration & some inorganic growth opportunities in EU Zone.” he says.


Grit of Steel

The rebar steel market for 2009 is estimated to be around 2.5 million tonnes

The Middle East Trader’s Group, which has been in the business of steel for the past 24 years with their first plant in Oman joined hands with Rakia to create RAK Steel in 2008 to produce deformed steel reinforcement bars. According to the Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (GOIC), UAE would use 44- 66 million tone of rebar products over the next 15 years. Ras Al Khaimah Today spoke to Ajay Aggarwal, CEO RAK Steel.
ow big is the rebar steel market in the UAE is and how much does RAK Steel contribute to it? During 2008, the UAE market for rebars was around five million tonnes. 2009 is estimated to be around 2.5 million tonnes. RAK Steel’s current market share is 10 per cent in the first year and is estimated to go up to 20 per cent by 2010. Tell us about your RAK plant and its capacity? RAK Steel is a joint venture of Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority and the outcome of the vision of HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. It commenced production in Jan 2008. The plant capacity is 500,000 tonnes per year. It is a modern substantially automated and environment friendly plant. It is also the second largest production facility for rebars in UAE, set up with an investment of around $ 50 million. With the current slowdown in real estate projects, has the steel industry been affected? Real estate is the main driver for steel consumption in the UAE. Therefore, with the slowdown in projects, steel industry is affected. Which are the countries you export steel to? Do you see the UAE achieve self sufficiency in steel? RAK Steel has exported to Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. For construction steel UAE will soon be self sufficient as many projects are on the anvil. What is the demand for deformed steel reinforcement bars in the UAE?


Ajay Aggarwal

For 2009, the demand for deformed steel reinforcement bars is estimated to be around 2.5 to three million tonnes. Are there any locational as well as cost advantages of setting up base in RAK? What are they? Due to the enlightened policies of Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, it is relatively easy to set up business in RAK. Other things like availability of finance, human resources, technology follow the same efficiency. RAK Steel was set up in 16 months from concept to execution including 13 months that was devoted to construction. The Al Ghail industrial area is located equidistant to important and emerging markets of RAK, Sharjah, Ajman, Dubai, and Fujairah. Therefore, logistics are extremely efficient. What are your future plans at expansion? We plan to expand our rolling capacity to 750,000 m per year and to establish a steel melt shop with an investment of $ 150 million.


RAK Steel was recently awarded the highly esteemed CARES Certificate of Approval. The Certification Authority for Reinforcing Steel based in UK is an impressive accreditation recognized all over the world. RAK received the award for 2 grades BS4449 2005, B500B and 2nd grade is BS4449 1997, Grade 460B for sizes 10-32 millimetres.


We, The People

The world’s largest manufacturer of float glass, mirrors and fabricated glass products, Guardians RAK brings to RAK its own philosophy of success
in his own way. Right from colour coding to landscaping, office décor, work spaces et al, it really is the MD’s vision all the way. Of course, some basics of design have to be maintained. The company also maintains high standards of self-awareness and consultation. “We have an open door policy here. Anyone with a work or related problem, can walk in and discuss it with us,” he adds. No wonder, it is the largest manufacture of float glass, mirrors and fabricated glass products in the world. Guardian RAK produces 700 tons of glass per day, used in construction and automotive applications. The facility employs nearly 300 people and has generated approximately 1,000 additional jobs in related supplier and logistics industries. “This is our first year of coater operation and our goal is to produce 25000 tons of glass. Eventually our capacity coater shall produce 50,000 tons /year,” adds Raju. With an environmental policy back in 1993 that has full compliance with all relevant environmental laws and regulations; Guardian products reduce the harmful effects man can have on the planet. The plant produces high-performance coated glass products, including SunGuard, Guardian’s line of advanced architectural glass, following installation of a high-tech coating machine. “Our main objective for 2009 is to launch our expansion coater, get it out in the market,” he adds. The coater is aesthetic and though expensive than ordinary glass, can save a lot of energy and is a solar performance glass,” he states. His clients belong to the GCC, India, Australia, Africa but the core clientele is from the Middle East. Is it feasible to ship glass to countries that are not located nearby? “Yes of course, our containers go all the way to Australia too,” he adds. And he hopes that RAK port would soon begin operations since the cost of inland transport could be saved. The glass is shipped to other countries through the Jebel Ali port right now. Guardian Industries began as the Guardian Glass Company in 1932 making windshields for the automotive industry and later moved on with the float glass business. It is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of float glass and fabricated glass products and manufactures and supplies the automotive industry with a variety of exterior products, is a significant player in the building materials distribution business and is the world’s largest producer of mirrors. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, the privately held Guardian Industries group of companies has over 19,000 employees worldwide in 21 countries across 5 continents.

GS Raju, General Manager, Guardian Zoujaj international Float Glass Co LLC


could be a life coach dazzling people with his power of knowledge and discipline but he chooses to let his work do the talking. GS Raju, General Manager, Guardian Zoujaj international Float Glass Co LLC, “Guardian RAK” that produces glass for construction and automotive applications, has been part of the company for the past 15 years. Because its value based philosophy was extremely compatible to his own set of rules about work ethics. “Arrogance, irresponsibility and self pride are misfits with Guardian and we recruit people who make things happen. We base our ideology on values like discipline, integrity, honesty and compatibility,” he says. Each unit of Guardian (they have 55), has its own culture. Whenever a new plant is built the organisation identifies the MD and gives him the levy to design the space

“Recruit “Recruit the right right people people and let them do them do their job” their jobs”
William Davidson President Guardian Glass


Camel races and horse safaris are fun, so are colourful animal accessories !

Desert Paraphernalia



Touch of glass
The use of glass in tableware is cultural to the UAE



is a subtle way to tell your guests that you are classy and ‘with it’. And who doesn’t want to be associated with good taste? No wonder glassware is much sought after in this house-proud region. And high-end glassware is a souvenir to showcase to guests and family. Women of the UAE love glassware and often have several sets of it. Glass is classy since it is transparent and showcases the food served in it beautifully. Opaque tableware doesn’t have the same effect, state. Bart Muller, CEO of the International Division of Arc International. Luminarc, Arc International’s brand, as the name suggests lights up your table with well made glassware. Its parent company Arc International took over RAK glass some time ago and since then RAK has been a base for them. “The RAK Glass factory had been part of RAK Porcelain. When we took over, we had an existing

Middle East and Africa,” he states naming India and China as their competitors. As for the Middle East, the location at RAK is closest to their markets. “The Middle East consists of 80 per cent of our market, India and Africa are 10 per cent each,” he states adding that they have many centres in China and Europe as well. “Glass cannot be shipped long distances because of its fragility. So it helps us if we have a base near our distribution centres. And we can use roads for transport,” he adds. Muller is all praise for HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of RAK and Dr Khater Masaad, CEO of Rakia.“ HH Sheikh Saud is a hands-on ruler and is very close to the people of his Emirate and understands his investors. Dr Masaad, on the other hand is an inspiration to everyone and helps solve out problems,” he adds.

bars and to companies like Coca Cola that have a high volume exclusivity with their products. Or with Kraft to create their mayonnaise glass pots. The hotel industry is a major buyer and sources beverage glasses, water glasses et al.“Glasses manufactured for the hotel industry are different. They have to have thin rims(that denote sophistication) and have to break less for functionality,” he adds. Is there any specific reason people in this region use glass other than its snob value? “The use of glass is culturally related.

Founded in the French town of Arques in Founded in the French town of Arques in 1825, ARC International has been owned 1825, ARC International has been owned by the Durand family since 1916 by the Durand since 1916
infrastructure already and built a new factory,” he states. Are there any locational advantages of being in RAK? “From a production point of view, from energy and labour costs RAK is the perfect location for us. We use this facility to supply to the markets in India, Do they do customised table ware or take specific orders from a chosen few. “No, we cannot, since we are a big factory and cannot cater to small orders,” he states. The group caters to consumer channels that take their products to supermarkets like Carrefour and Lulu, to restaurants and

People in this region prefer their sulaimanis in glass since it showcases the colour of the drink,” he says. Of course one cannot miss the comfort of sipping a bubbly or a fizzy drink out of a glass. Glass pervades our life and our culinary habits so much that it is usually difficult to imagine hotels or homes without glasses for various occasions. So, are the glass designs, region specific? Paris is where Arc International’s design intelligence is located and that office decides on the specific designs for the Middle East. “Colours are an expression of a culture and this market has a penchant of colour,” he adds. Is there any raw material sourced locally? “Sand is an integral part of the glass industry but no, we cannot use the sand of this region. It is sourced from Jordan and Egypt. The rest of the raw material, we produce ourselves since quality levels have to be maintained,” he adds. Luminarc is slowly getting into tableware decoration as well with vases, jugs and food related tableware. Muller states that glass does not cause much harm to the environment. “Glass is organic. It doesn’t add to ecological waste

Bart Muller, CEO of the International Division of ARC International worked with Phillips before he took over the RAK branch. While he has been with this company for two years and lead ARC in Asia, India, Africa and the Middle East, a major part of his previous job had an uncanny association with glass and light.“I was with Phillips for 15 years in Germany and Austria in guess what? The lighting section,” he states. Luminarc’s tagline happens to be ‘illuminating your table.’

since the earth will take it back. It needs less energy to produce and is friendlier than plastic or any other material. In fact, in Europe, we have started a campaign for the eco friendly nature of Arc,” he adds. What about expansion? “There has been

a current drop in sales since consumers are holding back at adding that extra tableware set given the current situation. But we shall be building a new furnace that will double the current capacity of production,” he adds.



Enterprising RAK
RAK Offshore is an entrepreneur’s paradise



to the investment climate of Ras al Khaimah is RAK Offshore that is bridging the gap between the regional and worldwide offshore opportunities of business and financial companies that address the needs of investors and investment professionals in the Gulf, Middle East, Russia, CIS countries, Europe and South Asia. Be it offshoring companies, high net worth individuals, family businesses, low profile companies, banks, insurance companies, fund management firms etc, RAK Offshore benefits them in arious ways. It is strategically located on the crossroads of the East and the West, with access to a market of over two billion people from Morocco to China and from Russia to Africa. With modern telecommunication and transport infrastructure, well developed road, air and transport facilities, no restrictions on hiring manpower and high access to a range of well qualified trained professionals, RAK Offshore is a comprehensive solution for a range of businesses. Soon, the space shall see an upcoming International Offshore Business Centre for non- resident entrepreneurs who need an offshore location to conduct business and outsource back office activities, an upcoming International Offshore Financial Centre. For offshore financial services companies and finance professionals., also being planned, is a Financial City to house the offices of RAK Offshore as well as offshore businesses and financial services companies that domicile in RAK Offshore.

RAK Offshore helps RAK Offshore helps kick-start businesses, kick-start businesses, in shorter durations in durations of time of RAK Financial City
and owners the possibility to register their boats from anywhere in the world through a rapid, secure and convenient registration system. This is in response to the booming leisure boat industry. From the berthing port of a boat, RAK Offshore can handle the registration and surveying of the vessel through licensed maritime surveyor companies. Anyone can apply through the creation of a special IBC with the sole objective of owning a yacht. A vessel like a yacht is usually divided into 64 shares. To be registered in RAK Offshore, a minimum of 33 shares must be owned by the IBC of RAK Offshore. For more information, you could log on to Peter Michael Schuster, GM RAK Offshore, states that the RAK Offshore companies come through registered agents, law firms, business consultants and chartered accountants As for the advantages, there are several of them. “We help start businesses really faster In fact, work gets done faster here than in other places. If other places take two weeks, we work in less than two hours. This helps kick-start businesses, in shorter durations of time,” he adds.

Peter Michael Schuster, GM RAK Offshore

Infrastructure wise, it shall have an independent registrar of companies and boats to deal with incorporation and registration of all offshore corporate entities and marine vessels. The office space options will range from ready made offices available on a leasehold or freehold basis to freehold plots of land on which buyers can construct office buildings to suit their taste and needs. An independent financial services authority will act as a regulatory and auditing body for RAK Offshore and all financial companies within it. The Financial Services Authority would be completely autonomous and will comply with all international and local regulations on AML and CTF. In the near future, RAK Offshore will also grant sailing and yachting amateurs

Over the last 33 years UCC contributed to the growth of the U.A.E. with its high quality cement and customer care. UCC shall continue cementing the growth with its bigger capacity in future.

PO Box 170, Ras Al Khaimah United Arab Emirates E-mail: Tel: +971 7 266 8166, Fax: +971 7 266 8635


The emirate is slowly becoming the new celebrity hub
A Bollywood superstar’s first real estate project, a world renowned architect waiting to build his dream academy and an international tennis sensation who will coach students at his own island tennis resort – Ras Al Khaimah has turned its sights towards the world of glitz and glamour. And there is no looking back.

The Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard


superstar Shah Rukh Khan is a co investor in a project called the Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard, a Dh8 billion project stretching to 3 million sq ft, that is coming up in the Dana Islands. The island that has 63 kms of shoreline shall have the SRK Boulevard, a freehold area that would have 7kms of seashore development, apart from modern residences like specially designed studios, one and two bedroom apartments and townhouses. “I have not merely lent my name to this project, but am well aware of all its nuances right from its design to conception,” says King Khan as he is popularly known in India. Tony Ashai, the celebrity architect has designed the project and it is being built by TSA real estate in conjunction with Master

Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard

“I have not merely lent my name “I have not merely lent my name to this project but am well aware to this project am well aware of all its nuances right from its of all its nuances right from its design to conception,” design to conception”

complexes spread across 6.3 million sq ft. With a penchant for healthy living by which he means, people have a life dedicated to outdoors, exercises as well as safety of their children, SRK feels that his fetish for living spaces has made him turn developer. “People, who come to our home Mannat in Mumbai, feel that it is different and a little whacky and weird. A home reflects us. It is an extension of ourselves and that is what we have tried to do with the Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard. It shall have an actual boulevard, an underwater disco and an underwater corridor connecting to a lounge,” he says. Shah Rukh often felt that the sea shore is pretty active during the day and not during the night. So, the place will have an open air theatre by the sea that will get active by night time. There too, there will be no sound, since people who want to watch films can rent a blue tooth and watch the films without disturbing others. The SRK Boulevard shall have the Shah Rukh Khan signature Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan briefing H.H.Sheikh Saud about towers where residents Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard will not know which floor they are living in. And how is that done? “Each apartment at the SRK signature towers shall have its own elevator. So when you enter the place, you’ve to actually enter the elevator that takes you to that apartment. That is how exclusive we have made it,” states architect Tony Ashai who feels that since the boulevard is made by a creative person, it will reflect his sense of design. Shafi Tofic, Planners Consultants FZ LLC. “I have had a fascination for homes. When I came to Mumbai from Delhi, my first investment was a home. And the home where I live now too is very special to me. It is the place where I really turn to myself, tuck my children to bed and unwind. So, you can say that the SRK Boulevard is an extension of my dreams to be an architect. In many ways then, you could call me a frustrated architect who is now getting to build his dream project,” adds Khan. The project is scheduled to see completion in 2012 and shall become part of the larger, high quality living environment of Dana Island which will eventually house several world class hotels, a shopping centre and commercial

Dr Khater Massad Executive Chairman RAKEEN, Shafi Tofic, President of TSA group with SRK

President of TSA Group also organised Temptations Reloaded, SRK’s performance with leading Bollywood stars recently to promote the SRK Boulevard. Dr Khater Massad, Executive Chairman Rakeen, states that developments like the Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard will help sustain growth in the property market as they bring in more variety, star power and investment. “Pro active legislations and progressive policies on property development and ownership have helped RAK to evolve as the region’s preferred destination,” he states. The project shall be launched in February 2009, according to the TSA Group.


The project is scheduled to see completion in in The project is scheduled to see completion 2012 and shall become part of the larger, high 2012 shall become part of the larger, high quality living environment of Dana Island which quality living environment of Dana Island which will eventually house several world class hotels, will eventually house several world class hotels, a shopping centre and commercial complexes a centre and commercial complexes spread across 6.3 million sq ft spread across 6.3 million sq ft

Tony Ashai Design Academy


ony Ashai’s upcoming Design academy at RAK will be partnered with RAK Ed. “The academy is my dream and His highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr al Qassimi has been very encouraging about it. He even took me in his helicopter to see his Emirate. He is extremely foresighted and enterprising,” states Ashai. He feels that the academy shall devote itself to design since he feels that there is a serious dearth or deficiency in design education in the world. “It will be of international standards and the curriculum is being designed right now. To let you in to some ideas, it shall have a panel of world renowned experts design its curriculum. For instance, I am planning to rope in the likes of pianist David Benva,” he adds. Ashai already has designed the Santorini project on the Al Marjan islands. With a passion for public squares and watching human behavior. Ashai’s own academy is sure to reflect his approach to design. “I believe that Italy is the seat of architecture and public squares in Italy hence have been my topic of research and interest. I noticed that some squares were hubs of activity and some weren’t. So, I sought out to seek why and came up with a list of things. When I build my structures, I keep this in mind for sure,” he adds. The SRK Boulevard too is a contemporary version of

Tony Ashai

a public square in a beach. Ashai believes that spaces can make you happy as well as sad. “Quite like music that can make you morose or elated, spaces too generate that energy about them. They can make you feel bigger or smaller, claustrophobic or open. Which is why, space planning is extremely important. People are happier in wellplanned spaces,” he states. Ashai is also gathering funds in the UAE for the Ashai Foundation that will raise money for scholarships for ‘starving artists’ worldwide. “Over the world, a lot of artists

World renowned celebrity architect Tony Ashai founded his Los Angeles-based design firm Ashai Design Corporation with his brother, Arthur Ashai, to provide clients with exceptional creativity, design sense and style. Over the years, Ashai Design has grown into one of Southern California’s prominent architectural firms for luxury estates and villas and encompasses master planning, interiors and landscape design internationally. Several Hollywood and Bollywood stars and artists are his clients. Some of his prestigious projects have been master planning for 5 world islands in Dubai, Dubai Lifestyle City and Tiger Woods villas.
want to continue and further their art but cannot, due to lack of funds or support. The Ashai Foundation aims to support them,” he states. And will his celebrity clientele involve themselves in the process. “For sure. Many of my celebrity friends are charitable and want to make sure that the cause they donate for is a noble one and something that is authentic too. So, some of them will surely be a part of it,” he adds.


The academy will The academy will be of international be of international standards and standards and prominent artists, prominent artists, musicians and musicians and designers will create designers will create its curriculum its curriculum
Tony Ashai’s `Santorini project at RAK

Boris Becker Beach Resort and Tennis Academy

Boris Becker Beach Resort and Academy


tennis sensation Boris Becker, who is turning co-investor and partner with ACI Real Estate is coming up with the Boris Becker Beach Resort and Tennis Academy at the Al Marjan Islands, a 20 hectare master development that shall have more than 10, 0000 residences. Shaped like a turtle, the resort and academy is valued at Dh3 billion and includes premier holiday homes, a world class luxury resort, spa facilities and a five star hotel along with a world class tennis academy. Strategically located at the entrance of the Al Marjan Islands, the resort and academy sprawls over 2.5 million sq ft land and offers a rare dual ocean front advantage, with the estate stretching from one end of the isle’s shore to another.

Shaped like a turtle, the resort and Shaped turtle, the resort and academy is valued at Dh3 billion and academy valued at Dh3 billion and includes premier holiday homes and includes premier holiday homes and 10,000 residences 10,000 residences
Aimed at global investors in the top end holiday homes segment, the place will offer a buy-to-use and lease option and will be powered in part by solar energy. Becker is 50 per cent partner and will co manage the project assisted by long time friend and fellow German Davis cup team partner Eric Jelen. Becker will also offer personal training sessions to a select few and handpicked from across the globe to ensure the ‘Becker way’ is well observed and young talent carefully groomed. The Academy will feature six tennis courts with rebound-ace surfaces. An aerial view of the massive project tells the story of the sea turtle noted in folklore for its longevity and resilience, nestling peacefully off the RAK island shores. Using the latest in membrane design, the academy will be housed within what would be the ‘shell’ of the turtle. Robin Lehmann, MD of ACI Real Estate states that the design of the project is inspired by RAK’s natural landscape as a marine community. Achim Bullinger, CEO Middle East Vision, the developer states that the project has been planned to integrate the different needs of holiday makers and long term residents.



Survival of the fittest
“The crunch will filter those who can really survive.” Mohammed Sultan Al Qadi, MD RAK Properties
RAK Properties is a Public Joint Stock Company formed with the support of the RAK government to oversee development of real estate, tourism and leisure facilities in Ras Al Khaimah. Founded under the vision of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, RAK Properties aims to maximize shareholders’ value through its development projects in the coastal and inland areas of RAK. With a sound capital of Dh2 billion, the company’s founders, including the Government of Ras Al Khaimah, hold 45 per cent while the remaining 55 per cent is held by the public.The Initial Public Offering (IPO) of RAK Properties in 2005 was over-subscribed by almost 57 times. In its mission to lead the development of real estate and tourism infrastructure in Ras Al Khaimah, RAK Properties aims to attract foreign investors of repute to launch state-of-the-art projects, including luxurious hotels, resorts, malls and industrial facilities. Currently RAK Properties has some projects in Abu Dhabi as well as RAK. Mohammed Sultan Al Qadi, MD, RAK Properties, answers a few questions.


hat is the profile of your investor? Traditionally investors can be broken down into 3 broad categories: 1. The speculator – who never intends on staying on or holding on to the property for a longer period. This type usually resells / flips the property before completion. 2. The long term Investor plans to hold on to the property with the view of capital growth and rental returns after completion of the project. 3. The end buyer who buys property for personal use. Even though we have no empirical evidence here of the vast majority of our buyers linked to categories 2 and 3, end buyers would be the vast majority of middle class. They need a property that is completed to allow them to move in or use immediately along with finance suited to their needs.


How has RAK Properties worked out its way through the current credit crunch? RAK Properties has no debt and, as per its publicly released audited financial statements, has approximately Dh700 million of cash-on-hand. Therefore, although the credit crunch is adversely affecting both local individuals and businesses, it is important to note that

RAK Properties has sufficient capital to fund operations for the intermediate term and has not yet been required to raise debt financing. With this correction happening, we are still on the ground, executing our plans as well as hunting for future opportunities. The market is filled with developers (big and small) and we believe this crunch will filter out those who can really survive.

RAK Properties has no debt and, as per RAK Properties has no debt and, as per its publicly released audited financial its publicly released audited financial statements, has approximately Dh700m statements, approximately Dh700m of cash in hand of cash in

What has been the response from buyers in the current scenario? We believe that the slowdown in real estate market is not only inevitable but necessary to ensure the sustainability of the market. Buyers at this temporary stage are a bit nervous, with expectations that prices will go down. It is not just a matter of liquidity but more importantly trust and faith which needs to be restored. Tell us about the type of projects coming up in Mina al Arab that will contribute to RAK as an investment and tourism destination? Due to its distinctive position and rich natural beaches and waterfronts (unlike the man-made projects), the flagship Mina Al Arab project is expected to be one of the unique projects not only in Ras Al Khaimah but in UAE and the whole of Gulf . Therefore we think it will play a vital role in attracting tourists and investor as clearly noticed now through the full occupancy of the RAK hotels around the year. How have your projects in RAK and Abu Dhabi been received post Cityscape? The reaction of the market varies from one place to another, but overall, we noticed the interest to slow down. Customers are focussing on completed projects. What are the investment opportunities offered by RAK Properties? Since inception, RAK Properties used to approach investment opportunities carefully. The company has multiple investment opportunities being discussed with those interested from time to time. Which are the financial institutions that work alongside RAK Properties? We have agreements with HSBC, NBAD, Amlak & CBI Bank. Amlak has suspended all loans to all developers, including RAK Properties What are your future projects and when are they likely to take shape? The management keeps reviewing its planned projects while watching the market and its behaviour. We have many projects to be announced in the right time in the future as most of them being reviewed to make sure of their legal and contractual and marketing aspects. Our announced current projects are proceeding well as planned.

Distinctive position and rich rich natural beaches With distinctive location and natural beaches and waterfronts (unlike the man-made projects), and waterfronts (unlike man-made projects), the flagship Mina Al Arab isproject is expected to the Mina Al Arab expected to be one be the unique projects projects not only in Ras Al of one of the unique not only in Ras Al Khaimah Khaimah but in the entire the entire Gulf region but in UAE and UAE and Gulf region



Keen on Development
Rakeen creating iconic projects
Ras Al Khaimah’s private joint stock company, Rakeen Development, is keen to enhance the emirate’s natural wealth of the deserts, seas and the mountains through various developmental projects. Architecturally unique and set to be landmarks for the emirate, the projects include Al Marjan Island, Bab Al Bahr and Banyan Tree Resort. Reiterating HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah’s vision on creating favorable business, work and living conditions – in short sustainable growth - Rakeen has more than 20 projects in all – inside RAK and internationally in Georgia, Iran, Congo, Kyrgyzstan, India, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Tanzania, etc. These projects comprise building projects as well as land banks. resort destination on the entrance of Al Marjan Island – Bab Al Bahr - will create the ideal home that offers 832 freehold apartments in 6 buildings, a hotel of international standard, retail and office space in a cosmopolitan setting. Residents at Bab Al Bahr will be


spoilt for choice with a 360 degree sea view and majestic landscaping that includes exotic gardens, open private beach fronts and themed swimming-pools. The ownership of office space will be under the free zone trade license conditions, while

Bab Al Bahr Resort


the residential ownership will be 100 per cent freehold. The neighborhood of Bab Al Bahr is spruced up with a sprawling golf course, in addition to hotels and resorts, schools and hospitals of international repute. Bab Al Bahr redefines the Ras Al Khaimah lifestyle in ways that people from different nationalities and cultures will truly appreciate.

Al Marjan Islands
first man-made island project to be developed in RAK, the Al Marjan Island, consists of a cluster of a peninsula and 4 coral-shaped islands, which extends over 2.7 million m2 of reclaimed land, reaching 4.5km into the sea. It is designed to become a haven of luxurious living and a world class leisure destination that will comprise of waterfront homes, hotels, resorts, leisure facilities and commercial areas. While creating the island, Rakeen has not resorted to ‘hostile dredging’ but used surface fill with coarse earth material. Over two
Al Marjan Islands


Banyan Tree Resort
very special and unique development by Rakeen is Banyan Tree Al Wadi, an exclusive Arabian Desert resort with 31 luxury tented pool villas and 70 block pool villas. One million m2 desert in its pure form will provide the real orient adventure experience. A diverse range of outdoor attractions like camel & horse stations and a falcon center will captivate the visitors on a journey through pristine Arabic cultural heritage and traditions. For indulgence in relaxation and wellness treatments, Banyan Tree Resort will offer an unrivaled royal spa complex with a yoga & hydrotherapy center and health club. Fully equipped conference & seminar facilities and sumptuous dining outlets complement this desert paradise. Banyan Tree Resort is the perfect getaway for peaceful, inspiring tranquility in a romantic oasis combining surpassing luxury and amenities with a breathtaking surrounding of pure nature. Banyan Tree Resort Al Wadi is due to open in summer 2009.



million pieces of natural rock were cautiously and carefully laid one at a time for building essential breakwaters, instead of utilizing concrete ripraps that are visually unacceptable and naturally unwelcoming to marine life. This has resulted in generating a home to marine life over more than 400,000m2 of rock. These will also, in the long term, attract coral life and help a reef formation, giving birth to a new ‘natural’ wonder in RAK and a breathtaking underwater paradise unique to the Arabian Gulf.


Ecology in Practice
With solar lighting systems and rainwater harvesting RAK Uniestate strikes an ecological chord . Alexandra Andres, Manager, Marketing and Sales, Uniestate, RAK, spoke to Ras Al Khaimah Today
What are the features of Yasmin village and the properties in RAK handled by Uniestate? UniEstate has many projects namely Yasmin Village, Yasmin Tower, Orchid Tower, Yasmin Town, Yasmin Residency in Bulgaria as well as asset based Rose Building Rif’a Villas and Al Zahra Complex. Yasmin Village is one of the large projects in Ras Al Khaimah and is ideally located between the sea and the mountains. It is five minutes away from the Golf Cub and the site extends to 4.8 million square feet land for a built up area of 2.2 million square feet. With a ratio of 53 per cent landscaped to 47 per cent built up area and a lake of about 250,000 square feet in the centre, it is generous and open spaced. The project is lowrise with ground + 4-5 storey apartment treatment plant, stormwater drainage and the use of solar lighting systems. Water from the minimal rain fall is going to be collected through rain harvesting and will be used to water the landscaped area. What is the USP of your project? The USPs of UniEstate’s projects start with the vision of our Chairman, HH Sheikh Tariq Al Qassimi, that is “ to be a leader in providing turnkey real estate management solutions through commitment in providing excellent services and delivering development projects that bring new standard of quality with lower than market prices and endure sustainable relationship with customers and investors alike to achieve superior value”. Location is a prime USP to achieve this

Alexandra Andres, Manager, Marketing and Sales, Uniestate, RAK

buildings, villas and terraced apartments, a community club with swimming pool, fitness centre and a few chosen retail shops. Yasmin Village is also an eco-friendly project with a sewerage


vision. This approach takes us beyond the developer status to being master developers on some of our projects as we conceptualise first and then go into a project, handling all the phases in between from the layouts to the finishing. The purpose is to ensure the end-user’s benefits. This orientation, to offer valuable packages to end users and investors alike, brings us to the economical location of our projects, as an extra benefit. To achieve this extra benefit for our clients, we tie up with partners who can offer an economical platform. Ambience is another major USP with our projects being located on the outskirts of the town. In gated communities with lush landscaping in beautiful natural surroundings, we focus on the quality of life attractive to families with children too. For those favouring business hubs, we located Yasmin Tower and Orchid Tower in the economical district of RAK in the vicinity of the Economic Department, and the Exhibition Centre, to name a few. What is the profile of your investor? The majority of our investors are endusers and longterm investors with a small amount of speculators. They are from multicultural societies like GCC, other Arab countries, Europe, Asia, Russia and Iran. What motivates people to buy property in RAK? Investors who come to RAK are those who recognised the opportunities and the long term potential of the emirate. Property development, comes before development of the location itself. The vision of HH Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, is most definitely at the origin of the local, national and international interest. By laying emphasis on economic diversification starting with infrastructure, followed by manufacturing industries, tourism and real estate development, the ground was laid to a

prosperous future that could carry Ras Al Khaimah safely through tumultuous times. As developers, we are grateful for this long-term vision and the support it brings to realise our own goals. Do you see a slump in the current market? How are you combating it? There is no denial that, with the current worldwide economic down-turn, the real estate market has become slower. Nonetheless, RAK is a different story than other emirates and though it is not left unscathed, no comparison or generality can be made. RAK has its own economy and its growth relies on different factors such as commercial activity, tourism and population growth. For the real estate sector, this means less speculators and more genuine demand. The population has been growing constantly since five years to reach 250,000 inhabitants today. The expected population size by 2020 is 750,000. Currently, despite numerous housing units already being delivered, there is an expected shortage of 20,000 housing units with growing tendency reflecting population growth. The tourism sector is also on the upside with five hotels to be delivered this year, like Banyan Tree, adding 500 rooms for the blooming tourism industry. The influence of the crisis lies more on

external factors like the financing situation that might slow down developments or falling prices in neighbouring emirates, but especially distress sales that give a negative image of the market in general. Sentiment is the key issue at the moment and news about sales happening at much lower than market prices tend to make investors nervous about the trend. It is vital to see that these exceptional prices are single cases and that sooner or later they will disappear. To us as a developer, it is important that, regardless, we are delivering, constructing and even launching new projects like Yasmin Residency in Bulgaria. Real Estate is a secure medium to longterm investment and since our projects are targeting end-users and longterm investors we are confident of our future and we will continue to grow with our clientele. What are your new projects? Value for money is what we are offering, so for our projects, we are mainly looking at emerging markets where there is a high potential for growth. Under way we have projects in Ras Al Khaimah, Bulgaria, Ethiopia and Jordan namely Orchid Tower, Yasmin Village - The Villas, Yasmin Town and Yasmin Residency to be launched in March.



A hub of higher education
Sheikh Saud stated that the government would provide scholarships to support George Mason University- RAK students. This was announced when Stuart H. Mann, Dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) called upon him. The academic initiatives undertaken by UNLV that is part of the GMU-RAK campus were lauded.


Curbing tobacco use
College of Dental Sciences hosted a one-day symposium on ‘Tobacco and Oral Cancer.’ It was organised in collaboration with International Medical Sciences Academy (IMSA) and UAE Association for Dental Education and Research (UAEADER). H.H. Sheikh Saud and Chancellor of RAK Medical and Health Sciences University, inaugurated the International Medical Sciences Academy Conference, 2008 and the symposium that targeted medical, dental practitioners and health care workers in the UAE. International and local speakers from UK, India, Pakistan and UAE participated in the event.


George Mason University students

GMU- RAK, established in 2005 under the initiative of Ras Al Khaimah Education Company is the first full branch campus of an American university in the UAE and currently offers six undergraduate degree programmes. ‘Instead of just being a teaching institution, we want faculty who are doing research that relates to the public and private sector. In this context we are going to select some areas to do research, like public policy or science and technology, that has relevance to the country and the society,” President of GMU, Alan Merten stated. In addition to its focus on bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D programmes, GMU- RAK is planning to get deeply involved in the area of continuing education.

rich The

K f RA ty o ersi iv ral d natu

of the rich natural habitat of the UAE as well as local and global conservation issues. Dr. Nejib Zaafrani, Managing Director for Shell Abu Dhabi one of the sponsors said: “The message that the Enviro-Spellathon programme delivers is very simple, yet very powerful: ‘our environment is important to all of us’. Imbedding environmental awareness into the minds and souls of our youth is of extreme significance, not only to us as parents and teachers, but also to the future generations, who will face even bigger environmental challenges in the future.’

Environment Protection and Development Authority, one of the partners backing ‘Enviro-Spellathon’ - a highly successful schools environmental education programme, has been launched for the academic year 2008-2009 in schools across five emirates in the UAE including RAK. The programme, now in its eighth year, introduces an exciting new ‘Interactive Enviro-Spellathon’ for the first time, as an additional online option for teachers, parents and pupils to enjoy. The aim of the programme is to increase children’s knowledge and awareness



Agriculture thrives in Ras al Khaimah due to its conducive weather

Blessed with Rainfall



Sculpting Excellence
Dr Gurumadhava Rao,Vice Chancellor of RAKMHSU, is resolved to create quality health care professionals for the UAE and the world outside
“All of us need a caring and compassionate, “All of a caring and compassionate, doctor who understands our problem, doctor understands our problem, diagnoses our illness and provides us suitable diagnoses illness and provides us suitable medical treatment” medical treatment”
and compassionate, understands your problem, diagnoses your illness and provides you suitable medical treatment,” he continues. And Dr Rao, is resolved to create a battery of doctors who will stand out among the rest with all these qualities. With 29 years of experience behind him in one of India’s premier institutes Manipal University, Dr Rao arrived in RAK when he was offered the position at the RAKMHSU. “I am very particular about discipline and honesty and expect that from my students as well. These qualities go a long way in any profession,” he states. RAKMHSU has three investors. Firstly the RAK government, represented by HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi, who has provided land to its existing new campus, Mr Salaluddin from ETA Star and Essa al Ghurair. The new RAKMHSU building is a state of the art facility that extends to an area

Dr Gurumadhava Rao, Vice Chancellor, RAK MHSU

kind of doctor would you want to go to when you fall sick?” asks Dr Gurumadhava Rao, Vice Chancellor of the Ras al Khaimah Medical and Health Sciences University. A question, he often asks parents of probable students and students who come inquiring about the various medical courses at RAKMHSU and the quality of teaching. “Naturally, to someone who is caring



of 10.2 acres and is well landscaped. The University building extends to 60,000 sq ft and the total built up area extends to 250,000 sq ft. It is a G + 3 floor structure with all facilities that include medical, nursing and pharmacy colleges. It has 10 lecture halls, around 10 labs, including the clinical skills lab, rooms for small group discussions, a very big library containing 5000 books and 1000 online journals. The University also has a sprawling auditorium that has 650 seating capacity. “We have strength of 230 students across 30 nationalities in our five programmes that include Medical, Dental, Pharmacy and Nursing. In Nursing, we have the BSc programme as well as the Bridge programme where diploma holders in Nursing can upgrade their diplomas to degrees. Our staff consists of 103 faculties out of which 60 are full time lecturers and professors. We also have 35 non-teaching

staff members,” he adds. The curriculum encourages problem solving. There are sessions where students are split up into groups of 8-10 and given a problem to solve. The teacher is the facilitator who guides the students. Through this exercise, students gets

discussing, tolerate other’s mistakes and develop a good team spirit,” he adds. The faculty also undergoes teacher training programmes. The University conducts Institutional Research Surveys about performance of the faculty and regular student assessment too.


Superior Healthcare
Saqr Hospital

With a well endowed landscape, open spaces and fresh air, RAK is the perfect centre for major hospitals.
non citizens of both sexes. A remarkable increase was noticed in the number of surgical operations by 11.5 per cent in 2007 compared to 2006, while the number of lab tests increased by 13.6 per cent in 2007 over 2006.The number of vaccinations made in protective medicine against hepatitis, cholera, meningitis, typhoid fever, yellow fever and others increased from 5494 to 5651 vaccination cases. RAK Hospital, is an advanced secondary care multispecialty hospital, promoted by Arabian Healthcare. It is a joint venture between the Government of Ras Al Khaimah, under the aegis of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qassimi, Crown
RAK Hospital


al Khaimah has both, public and multi- speciality hospitals devoted to premium healthcare in the emirate. According to the Statistical Year Book – 2008, from the Economic Department, Ras al Khaimah, the number of public hospitals in 2007 were three (Saqr, Seif bin Ghabbah and Shaam) with beds totalling 480 and 261 doctors and dentists. The nursing staff totalled to 605 nurses and the number of government primary medical care centres were 18 centres with 64 doctors. Medical technicians and non medical organisation members in government hospitals totalled to 1,329. The total number of patients visiting hospitals and medical centres increased to 22182 patients during 2007, recording an increase of 4.43 percent compared to 2006. The number of private pharmacies increased by 11 per cent upto 61 pharmacies in 2007 compared to 55 pharmacies in 2006. The number of cases treated in government clinics amounted to 430,657 cases for new and recurrent cases of different diseases including 76 per cent of cases for citizens of both sexes and 24 per cent of cases for


Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah and the Dubai-based ETA Star Healthcare. A sprawling complex with a built-up area of 140, 000 sq. ft. on three levels, RAK Hospital offers a range of premium rooms. It has a capacity of 65 beds, a number that will eventually go up to 100. Of these, eight are in the Intensive Care Unit, six in the nursery and four in the NICU. The Hospital has 22 Out Patient Clinics with state-of-the-art accident and emergency services. It also houses a 24-hour pharmacy and cafeteria. A strategic contractual tie-up for professional support and partnership for operational management of the hospital has been made with a leading Switzerland based healthcare company, Sonnenhof Swiss Health Ltd.


Leisure Destination
Fill your bags with a scintillating list of goodies from the newly opened Al Hamra Mall



architecture, an array of international retail outlets, a melange of stores and good joints plus a strategic location to attract locals and expatriates to the region, the opening of the Al Hamra Mall has been long awaited. Dr Khater Massaad, Chairman of RAK Real Estate, developer of the Mall says, “We are very excited about Al Hamra Mall which will be added to the collection of family destinations in Ras Al Khaimah.” The mall which is located in Al Hamra Village opposite RAK Ceramics boasts 38,000 sq meters of prime retail spaces. “As a major attraction for the European tourists frequenting RAK, we wanted to capture the drama and romance of a Middle Eastern Bazaar with rich details, colourful lanterns, glimmering mosaic tiles, fountains but with contemporary twist” says Medardo Cadiz, CEO of Cadiz International that has designed the mall.

Firoz Majid

Village, the mall complements the overall ambience of the surroundings and blends into it subtly. The mall’s exterior glass walls that begin right up from the ground, add a dash of modernity to the mall. Also the exterior colours depict desert tones that are quite unique to the natural hues of RAK landscape. Put together, the mall, with all its aesthetic qualities is well suited to the everyday shopping and recreational needs of people of the UAE. It has a central location too. It is strategically located in the Al Jazeera Al Hamra area that is central to the major developments in Ras al Khaimah. Easily accessible from Dubai since the drive from the Emirates road takes about 45 minutes, the mall has already seen an influx

Firoz A. Majid, Mall Manager, Al Hamra Mall speaks to RAK Today What are the unique features of the Al Hamra mall in terms of location, architecture and design? The mall is a fine blend of Arabic heritage architecture and contemporary design. Quite like its precincts, the Al Hamra

As a major attraction for the European tourists As a major attraction for the European tourists frequenting RAK, we wanted to capture the drama frequenting RAK, we wanted to capture the drama and romance of a Middle Eastern Bazaar with rich and romance of a Middle Eastern Bazaar with rich details, colourful lanterns, glimmering mosaic tiles, details, colourful lanterns, glimmering mosaic tiles, fountains fountains but with contemporary twist with contemporary twis

It is strategically located in the It is strategically located in the Al Jazeera Hamra area that Al Jazeera Al Hamra area that isis central central to the major developments major developments in Ras Khaimah in Ras al Khaimah
of visitors from other emirates. Also, if you happen to come from the Umm Al Qwain road to RAK, the Al Hamra mall is the first mall to greet you. How big is the mall and what is the strength of your staff? The mall boasts 38,000 sq meters of prime retail spaces that houses the Spinneys, Guess, Esprit, Adidas and other international brands. It is a two storeyed shopping complex, which comprises of organized staff, staff from the management to maintenance levels, all of who are dedicated to cater to the services of our increasing clientele. The mall also has a food court with a fantastic array of well known brands. What is your client profile? While malls usually address a large variety of people, at the Al Hamra mall, we are targeting the middle and higher end clientele. What are the brands that will be part of the mall? We have a range of clientele ranging from Starbucks, Springfield, Giordano, Guess, Espirit, Spinneys, Burger King, Costa, G 2000, Bossini, Mothercare, Claires, Ajmal, Fono, Betterlife, Adidas to name a few. The mall also has a food court with a variety of cuisine such as Burger King, London Fish n’ Chips, Mary Brown, NY Fries, Rupee Room, Burger King et al. Al Hamra also offers Starbucks, Costa and Mug and Beans Coffee Shops What about infrastructure around the mall and parking? The mall is futuristic in every sense of the term and as of now parking is available for approximately 1000 cars. Al Hamra Mall is part of Al Hamra Village development, which comprises of townhouses duplexes, beach areas, a beautiful marina, an international 18 hole championship Golf Course and 2 Hotels, so it has excellent infrastructure. For a lot of people who live in the Al Hamra Village villas and residents, this is a 2nd home to them. How are you planning to promote the mall in the various emirates? The mall shall be promoted through various popular print media, radio and magazines and outdoor media as well. Al Hamra Mall offers an ambience that a visitor can shop in peace and tranquillity. It has the right touch of sophistication and class. Our malls corridors are grandly built and aptly lit up. The entire feel is very welcoming. The vibrant hued dome area that is sprawling and covered with stain glass will be a centre of a lot of activities of the future.



A Heritage of Pearls
Nearly every roundabout in Ras al Khaimah depicts heritage aspects of the emirate. The Pearl roundabout is a reminder of the UAE’s rich pearl diving and pearl trading history. The RAK museum as well as museums of personal collectors are filled with priceless memorabilia that depict aspects of pearl trading and pearl fishing from the times of yore. RAK was an important centre for the global pearl trade till the 20th Century.



Benoy Kurien, Mall Manager, Manar Mall

Back to the Future

Aesthetic design, apt location, sprawling spaces and exciting brands make Manar Mall a delightful landmark


1998, when I came here, the sea was being filled and the mall’s ground work hadn’t started. The etisalat building and the bridge was there and the Hilton hotel wasn’t occupied though it was ready. We had our office in the Iran Insurance building and we moved to the site in 1999. In September 2000, the mall opened Carrefour and in May 2001, it opened completely,” says Benoy Kurien, Mall Manager at Manar Mall who has been with the group for a decade. The Crescent shaped mall that reflects the sun, sand and water is an early initiative of HH Sheikh Saud and is extremely futuristic. “When it was built, the car park could hold 2200 cars. People joked that there were not that many number of cars in RAK but that was an international standard and we stuck to it. Today with the increasing number of clientele patenting the mall, as part of our expansion, we are building several levels of car parks,” states Benoy. With corridors as wide as 13 metres, a panoramic promenade, lots of skylight and every outlet visible from the centre of the mall, the structure embraces design, aesthetics and functionality at its best.

Intima card launched

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi (Right) and Mohammad Sultan Al-Qadi, Manar Mall Chairman (Left) at the Intima award launch


Mall recently launched its smart card based loyalty programme Intima, to ensure that every customer gets full value for every dirham they spend in Manar Mall. You could fill the enrolment form and submit it to the customer service counter or to the management office or select partner outlets with a minimal enrolment fee and the card will be activated. The readyto use Intima card will be mailed to you within 24 hours. Simply shop at a partner outlet in the mall and present your Intima card when you pay. They will reward your card with Manar Dirhams on your card according to your purchase amount and the percentage stated in the loyalty programme guide. One Manar Dirhams is equal to one UAE Dirham of additional shopping.


PANORAMA Envisioning RAK

Hospitality at its best
Leisure gets a new meaning in RAK with world class hotels, spas and resorts Leisure gets meaning in RAK with world class hotels, spas and resorts

Welcome to RAK’s hospitable climate
Hilton beach resort

Having a natural advantage with its deserts, mountains, sea sides, hot water springs and lush green landscape, the hotels and resorts at RAK, make the most of the good seasons in the UAE. While several real estate projects have got people to the emirate for tourism purposes as well as investing in leisure homes, the hotels offer a great deal of luxury and lifestyle packages for those raring to explore and unwind.

Khatt Springs hotel

Bin Majid Hotel



Desert Enclave
It is a tad uncommon to see people setting their professional goals in their early teens. Pascal Eppink, General Manager of the Banyan Tree resorts at RAK was sure that the hospitality industry was his forte when he was but 12- 13 years of age. “I used to get a good feeling when I walked hotel corridors as a child and knew that’s where I wanted to be,” says this Hollander.Three and a half years with the Banyan Tree group, Eppink was in the Phuket office before his foray into Ras Al Khaimah, though he has been in this region for six years with other groups. He spoke to RAK Today about the new desert resort slated to open by Ramadan this year.

Pascal Eppink, General Manager, Banyan Tree RAK

Tell us about the features of the upcoming Banyan Tree desert resort? Banyan Tree Al Wadi is the first integrated luxury desert resort in the emirate that offers all pool villas (including tented villas), hydrotherapy spa treatments, beach club, adventures and activities amidst the spectacular Al Hajjar mountains. The resort offers the beauty of the sprawling desert which also features a 100 hectare nature reserve and guests can indulge in pampering spa treatments at the award winning Banyan Tree Spa. What are the architectural and retail specifications of the project? The resort follows a low key architectural style to seem seamless with its natural settings (desert and natural colours, low buildings forms and massing, placement of facilities to merge with the natural


landform of the surrounding environment). The architecture emulates traditional RAK architecture and Arabic forms. Even the paint we have chosen for the resort is the colour of the sand in the region. Banyan Tree takes it brand name from the tropical banyan tree known for its strong and graceful image. The broad and leafy foliage of the banyan tree evoked the image of shelter and retreat in a lush Asian rainforest. It has been a symbol of sanctuary under which one finds peace of mind and internal harmony – the same elements upon which its hotels and resorts have flourished. What are the transport facilities to and fro the resort? We have facilities of a car, four wheel drive a buggy within the resort grounds and camels as well as horses around the site.

How different would the resort be compared to other resorts in the region? Banyan Tree has a unique integrated business model with full time design and project management team. A team of specialist officers drawn from existing hotels purely support its pre –openings as a centralised global marketing team. This enables the group to express the brand at every level of operations and throughout the business model while adopting a holistic approach to innovation – from physical product to guest experience. It allows innovation or new hotels to be rolled out faster than competition and enhance negotiating leverage with global wholesalers and business partners. Banyan Tree has also pioneered the tropical garden spa and pool villa concepts that come to define the tropical resort experience that is proliferated in many resorts around the

world. What would be the sightseeing, adventure tourism packages you would offer to promote tourism in the region? We will be developing activities that are inspired by and/would accentuate our guest’s experience at RAK. We are talking to camel farms in the region that would help arrange camel rides to the tourists. We are also negotiating a large horse stable next to the resort to serve the local community because horse riding in the desert is a beautiful experience. How many restaurants would the resort have and what kind of food would they serve? We shall offer the Saffron Asian Fusion culinary delights. Apart from our other facilities, we have planned an intimate desert dining experience that would have features such as towers, platforms, deserts, excursions as well as Bedouin dining – that would be intimate, romantic and exotic. What are your efforts to preserve the flora and fauna of the region? Which are the animals that would be part of the reserve? We give stringent importance and adhere to EIA requirements – that is, not to bring in foreign flora and fauna. The entire designing of the resort will be done with nature and natural conditions. We shall enhance the landscape with species endemic to the environment and shall be replacing the damaged Gaff trees – that are the national trees of the UAE. We shall also be planting more Gaff trees and enhance the environment. We shall have a falcon rehabilitation centre for hurt falcons and a snake specialist who will educate guests about the snakes in this region. How have you involved locals in the venture? We will be employing a significant percentage of our associates from the local community and in turn invest in training them on a continual basis to provide them with the necessary skills. In doing so, we hope to inculcate a Banyan Tree service culture and corporate identity across all our associates.

This adhere to EIAgroup to express We enables the requirements the brand atto bring in foreign - that is not every level of operaflora and throughout the business tions and fauna. The designing of model while done with a holistic apthe resort is adopting nature and proach to innovation – from physinatural conditions. We’ll protect cal product to guest experience the endangered Gaff trees
What are the future projects of Banyan Tree in RAK as well as the other emirates of the UAE? Currently we have one Banyan Tree resort in Bahrain and a city suites project in Dubai that is slated for full completion this year. As for upcoming projects, we currently have two in Abu Dhabi, three in Dubai, two in Oman, one in Fujairah and one more in RAK. They are named Banyan Tree Al Gurm and Angsana Abu Dhabi, Banyan Tree Meydan in Dubai, Banyan tree Al Sahab/ Saraya islands in RAK, Banyan Tree Sifa and Angsana Sifa in Oman, Banyan Tree Marrakech in Morocco, Angsana Dead Sea in Jordan, Angsana Fujairah. Which are the countries you are targeting in terms of tourists? The primary market would come from the GCC, while other key markets include European ones from UK, Germany, France and Russia.



The hearth of business
Acacia RAK will be the first business hotel in the RAKIA Free zone
Hotels, RAK states that the hotel doesn’t target tourists as much as businessmen. “Its design is based on a business hotel and it is largely meant for the RAKIA Free Zone. It shall have 250 rooms in Phase 1 and about 80 furnished apartments. There are several technicians who come from all over the world to help set up units in the free zone and they usually stay for 2-3 months, so furnished apartments give them a sense of home and a hotel at the same time. They can avail of the hotel services, the swimming pool, restaurant outlets et al,” he says. “While RAK has several hotels to target high-end tourists, this hotel is mainly for the business sector. Of course, we will offer tourism packages since RAK is a very picturesque emirate and once here, we do have to address tourism,” he states. Most importantly, the hotel will have a conference hall for 400-500 people; a business centre equipped with all amenities and will be completed by October 2009. “RAKIA Free Zone is a quality industrial area and has been developed with the keen
Acacia Hotel at RAK

Michael El Nayal


t is one of the first business hotels coming up in the RAK IA Free Zone and will cater to the floating population that visits RAK time and again and lives there for shorter and longer periods of time. Acacia RAK was conceived over a year ago and is a partnership between Benaya Holdings and RAK Ceramics. The hotel’s construction is going on and it is scheduled to open its doors by the end of this year. Michael El Nayal, Director of Acacia


leadership of Dr Khater Masaad. In fact, you could see his mobile number in various offices with a note that states that you could contact him. That is the level to which he goes to ensure smooth functioning,” he adds. Michael El Nayal brings to the project his own expertise in the fields of organising exhibitions as well as conferences. “I used to do that in Dubai. Professionals are on the lookout for newer places to hold their annual conferences or business meetings and RAK shall soon be their destination,” he adds. Michael is also the President of Beme Solutions, a medical solutions company and has a large clientele of medical health professionals the world over. “We have been talking to dental associations the world over to conduct their yearly meetings at RAK. There are yearly meetings for Laser Surgery and such other specific areas and the region has great potential to pull them for business tourism,” he adds. His efforts have brought in Evomed, a Food Allery Type 2 training conference that will have its first meeting at RAK. A classic case of mixing business with pleasure.


The Doors Beyond
Walid Al Shehhi’s 20 minute art film BAAB or Door asks some pertinent questions about Emirati identity
By Manju Ramanan


he baab or door can be ‘poetically and politically associated with various images,” states Emirati film director Walid Al Shehhi from Ras Al Khaimah. Literally it represents the entrance between spaces, symbolically as the

“I am a big admirer of “I am admirer of Arabic Arabic and European European cinema and an avid cinema an avid reader of Paulo Coelho, reader Paulo Coelho, Dostoevoesky and Dostoevoesky and Gabriel Garcia Marquez” Gabriel Garcia Marquez”
Walid Al Shehhi

crevice to the world of dreams, imagination, memory, poetry, nostalgia, thoughts and imagination while politically, it transforms into the entry point that controls the influx of people entering the

country from all over the world. The film true to its name, opens its doors to all three aspects, which makes it interesting and thought provoking. Walid Al Shehhi, a self taught film-maker is an employee at the Higher Colleges of Technology, RAK has eight years of experience in this field and is the winner of the Muhr award at last year’s DIFF. Shehhi’s films (that he scripts and shoots in his free time) have also won awards outside the UAE, in Jordan, Baghdad and Muscat. “I am a big admirer of Arabic and European cinema and an avid reader of Paulo Coelho, Dostoevoesky and Gabriel Garcia Marquez,” he states. He is part of the UAE Writer’s Literary Union and mentions that their regular poetry sessions helped him craft his film well. On the surface of it, the film depicts a young man searching for a door that has been washed away by floods. He wades through water touching and feeling at familiar doors that he encounters. Quite similar to his blind grandmother who touches his head and tracks down his fever – that he compares to a door – since fever enters from a door in our bodies after all. Shot entirely at Al Jazira Al Hamra as well as the Fahleen area of RAK, next to the Khatt springs, Al Shehhi went location hunting while writing the script. “We needed to shoot at water bodies on the backdrop of mountains and we found it near Khatt Springs,” he states. The film is self funded and made at the cost of Dh150, 000 – the money Al Shehhi received from last year’s Muhr award. Ask him why he chose the genre of short films? “Because, it is economically viable and can be made in the lines of poetry. The films are not the dramatic narratives. They let the viewer participate in it, adding his/her dimensions to the story. For instance, in the film, the child’s father is not shown, but there is a man who appears in the child’s imagination, he could be interpreted as his father,” he adds. Also fever is interpreted differently. “The fever of a child takes him on a journey of imagination from the doors of his soul,” adds Al Shehhi.

Film Location

But the door takes a completely different meaning when the writer says, “When there are more doors, the hands which open and close them get lost, and we lose everything we call in and out.” Ask him, if that is a political statement he makes with regard to the influx of foreigners or expatriates in the country and he laughs. “You can interpret it in any way but yes, we are losing our culture and identity in this influx. We are losing our doors,” he says. A fact that resurfaces in many aspects of the film – especially a scene in the film where the family of the narrator that includes his mother and grandmother

combat a leaky roof – by placing porcelain cups across their home that traps the rain water falling in. “The film does mourn loss. Everyone in the film is missing something, a male presence, days gone by etc.” The film ends with a range of door frames without doors –but the walls are missing. As the film’s subtitles state, “When things become more, they start getting lost.” The film will be shown at the Gulf Film Festival in April and cannot be shown publicly before that date.




For a country that sees the mercury notch up several degrees on a single day, snow fall is a rare occurrence

The Jebel Jais mountains at Ras al Khaimah, an area usually covered with rocks and sand, reached -3 degrees C in January and rose up to 1 degree later when the peak of the mountain was covered with 20 cm thick snow. While rains, showers even hail storms have been part of the UAE these winters, snow fall is truly rare. Snow covered the mountain peak of Jebel Jais, and an area of 5 km around it and was much thincker than the snow fall at the same area in 2005. The mountain cluster is situated at a height of 5,700 feet and is 1900 metres above sea level. M. V. Varghese, Observer at the RAK Airport Meteorological Office, said that there were scattered rains in Ras Al Khaimah that brought the temperature down. “The rain along with the cold easterly winds and low-lying clouds could have bought the temperatures further down on the mountains,” he said.


TOURISM Envisioning RAK

Sea and mountains

Rarely would you find an emirate that encompasses a variety of natural advantages ideal for tourism. Mountains and cascades, wadis and water bodies, sea shores and mangroves, creek-waters and islands, deserts and sea shores, green parks and date palms– RAK is blessed with this natural diversity and rainfall as well. Make the most of the weather to drive down to these truly picturesque landscapes.

Naturally Endowed

Waterskiing in the picturesque seas


Wadi Al Beah during the monsoons

Winter greenery in the mountainside

Waterfall in the mountains

Saqr park

Picturesque rocky sea shore


Desert dunes

Hajjar Mountains


Strategic Tourism
Tourism success is not easily won; it results from a combination of careful macroeconomic management, judicious investment of government and private monies, and a results-oriented partnership of public and private interests in developing and marketing the product.
Nature Tourism
Ras Al Khaimah’s USP as a tourist destination lies in a variety of aspects. An excellent 5 star beach resort, many with private beach access of minimum one kilometre, a beautiful natural environment such as Al Hajjar Mountains, the coastline and beaches plus the unspoilt desert landscape, authentic local events and activities such as Awafi, camel racing, and shopping in the Old Souq, the many cultural and heritage sites in the mountains and along the coastal areas. And of course its close proximity to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman. Visitors to Ras Al Khaimah can also explore the near by fjords of Musandam, Oman which also provide ample opportunity for dolphin spotting or enjoy wadi-bashing in Al Hajjar mountains.

Dhow making yard at RAK


Romantic red sunsets in the desert dunes can be rounded off with a private dinner under the stars, or in a traditional Bedouin tent.

Business/Leisure Tourism
RAK Convention Centre (Rakeen) is a USD 400 billion project with a capacity of 5,000 delegates. It will have three different hotel categories on site plus a retail and sophisticated business centre. Mina Al Arab is a resort style multi-use community with approximately nine international branded hotels; to its north side is a three square km nature reserve which will have a visitor centre and eco accommodation on its perimeter. The project is designed around extensive water ways and is worth US$ 2.3 billion. To-date, Mina Al Arab has confirmed Hilton Ras Al Khaimah, Intercontinental

Real estate tourism
Al Marjan Island is the first manmade island in Ras Al Khaimah and it is a US$1.8 billion project that will have six hotels with an average of 350 rooms each. Al Hamra Village, the largest leisure resort of its kind in the UAE with five million sq. mtr, an 18 hole championship golf course, a marina with capacity for 200 berths, and The Palace Hotel is expected to be complete this year.

Group, Millennium and Rotana Hotels. They are currently seeking additional eco tourism and other specialist operators for this project.

Heritage Tourism
Over ten years ago, the Department of Antiquities and Museums Ras Al Khaimah established a division to manage the restoration of historical monuments and sites. These monuments and sites are selected according to their historical importance, like Dhayah Fort, where the last battle with the British troops took place in 1819, or the summer residence of the ruling family in Falayah, where the peace treaty was signed in 1820. Furthermore monuments of local and visual importance have been restored, like the watchtowers of the coastal towns Jazirat al-hamra, Ma’arid and Rams. A further priority for the Department is the restoration work and the aspect of authenticity, regarding the choice of materials and building techniques used during this process. In line with this work, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism has developed an “action plan” for Ras Al Khaimah Heritage Tourism in association with RAK Department of Antiquities and Museums to promote and preserve the emirate’s historical sites. H.H. Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qassimi has always shown keen interest in recording and protecting the Emirate’s history, and from 1968 onwards supported archeologist Beatrice de Cardi to begin surveys in RAK. Soon the Ras Al Khaimah museum was established in the old fortress and former palace of the Al Qasimi family. Today, just like his father, H.H. Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr al-Qasimi has a profound interest in the archaeology, history and heritage of Ras Al Khaimah. Parallel to the fast developments and modernisation plans, he endorses and encourages the protection of archaeological and historical sites. When the Department of Antiquities and Museums started its restoration work 10 years ago, it had the protection of local culture for both the local community, as well as possible heritage tourism in mind.

After the new Tourism Department outlined its wishes to establish heritage tourism in Ras Al Khaimah, the Department of Antiquities and Museums was prepared to contribute a number of sites together with individual development plans for touristic infrastructure. Heritage sites included in the Action Plan for Heritage Tourism are the medieval trading town of Julfar, where an archaeological park and site museum is planned; Dhayah Fort with its spectacular position between high rising mountains

and palm gardens; the archaeological area of Shimal, where prehistoric tombs will be partially reconstructed and nearby Sheeba’s Palace; the Falayah Summer Residence, where a heritage park will be themed around the palm garden, as well as various other sites. The Tourism Action Plan deals with the restoration of historical monuments, the reconstruction of archaeological monuments, as well as the creation of a touristic infrastructure, comprising fencing, public access, ticket boot, toilet houses, walkways and information boards.

2007 statistics reveal 2007 statistics reveal an annual footfall of an annual footfall of over 500,000 visitors over 500,000 visitors to RAK. a figure that to RAK, A figure that is on the increase and increase and is on predicted to reach predicted reach over 2.5 million visitors million visitors over annually by 2012, 2012, annually largely as a result of largely result of the emirate’s continued the emirate’s continued heavy investments heavy investments to harness its leisure, to harness its leisure, business and ecoecobusiness tourism potential tourism potential.




Frolicking the sands
Desert sands beckon a host of outdoor activities Desert beckon a host of outdoor activities from dune bashing to safaris to camping from dune bashing to safaris to camping

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