Largest infrastructure project in Abu Dhabi eyes Indian cos

With an aim to reduce dependency on oil, the Abu Dhabi government is now developing an industrial zone, inviting international and local companies to set up ventures there.

The Abu Dhabi government is expecting big participation from Indian companies in the industrial zone, at a time when availability of land and uninterrupted power pose problems for Indian business.

Termed as "The Industrial Zone of tomorrow," the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), is Abu Dhabi Emirate's largest infrastructure project and aims to generate more than 100,000 jobs by 2030.

According to the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, non-oil products will contribute 64% of the GDP, compared with 42% of non-oil contribution to GDP in 2008. Under this plan, Kizad is expected to provide up to 15% of the Emirate's non-oil GDP by then.

Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), the developer and operator of Kizad, ADPC is looking to lease about 22 sq km of land to manufacturing and industrial companies in the first phase.  Kizad A, which is under construction, occupies 51 sq km, and Kizad B is planned to cover 365 sq km.

The manufacturing hub, which saw an investment of about $7.3 billion from the Abu Dhabi government, expects its tax-free environment and low- operating cost structure to give it a competitive advantage. As an incentive for foreign companies, the hub will help them operate in a low-cost environment as electricity is cheapest in the UAE. Also, portable water will be provided at a cheaper cost.

"These cost savers make Kizad a valuable proposition for companies operating in India. In India, power is a problem. Even if it is available and reliable, it is expensive. That's a major reason why Indian companies are looking to set up ventures here," said Kizad's business development manager Varun Sharma.

ADPC started off by identifying six strategic markets for Kizad to target in the first few years of operations. This includes the US, UK and Germany in the West and India, China and South Korea in Asia. Over years, the mix has changed, but India remains a constant fixture.

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