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DIFC Achieves Record Growth In 2017

by Lorys Charalambous, Lowtax.net, Cyprus
06 March, 2018

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, has reported a record rise in the number of registered companies.

At the end of 2017, the DIFC registered 315 new companies, bringing the total number of companies registered in the center to 1,853, a 12-percent rise compared with 2016.

The geographic representation of companies in the DIFC remained broadly the same, with 36 percent originating from the Middle East, 33 percent from Europe, 11 percent from Asia, and 10 percent from the United States.

The DIFC's financial services sector also grew strongly in 2017, with 473 financial services firms and 22,338 professionals now calling the DIFC home. During the same period, an additional 384,200-square-feet of space was leased, with DIFC properties maintaining a 99 percent occupancy rate.

The DIFC says its combined revenue was steady at USD221m, a similar level to that in 2016, while total assets grew to USD3.55bn, a rise of 15 percent compared with 2016 (USD3.08bn). During the same period, the DIFC's operating profit, excluding fair value gain on investment properties, grew by eight percent to USD140m.

Commenting on the DIFC's strong growth, Essa Kazim, Chairman of the DIFC Authority Board and Governor of the DIFC, said: "2017 was another record year for the DIFC. Not only did we strengthen our position as the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia's leading financial center, but we also continued to actively support the development of regional economies. We are committed to shaping the future of financial services in the region, and we continue to support Dubai's role as an essential component of the global financial system. Today, we remain on course to achieve the goal we set in 2014 of tripling the scale of the DIFC by 2024."

The DIFC is a free trade zone located in Dubai, which offers a number of perks to firms, including zero percent income tax guaranteed for 50 years and no exchange controls. It allows 100 percent foreign ownership.

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