New industrial investors coming to Abu Dhabi offer diversification opportunities


Diversification is a central part of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, and the emirate is offering incentives to attract investors and bolster its manufacturing sector. While secondary industries are not all located in designated industrial parks or zones, many companies see the benefits of joining dedicated clusters. In 2017, 37 new factories obtained licences and started production, 85% more than in 2016. The official government news outlet, Emirates News Agency, reported that the combined investment was worth Dh6.4bn ($1.7bn).


Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD), a 40-sq-km zone located just outside of Abu Dhabi City, is home to well-established businesses in many sectors, including Emirates Steel, the only integrated steel plant in the UAE. It is owned by Senaat, the largest industrial conglomerate in the UAE. Other businesses include Al Ghurair Iron and Steel, National Cement Company (NCF) and Emirates Float Glass. In terms of annual capacity, NCF can produce up to 3m tonnes, Al Ghurair up to 400,000 and Emirates Float Glass 200,000 tonnes. Gypsemma, another ICAD tenant, produces 50m sq metres of gypsum plasterboard per year, while pharmaceutical company Neopharma makes 1.5bn tablets and 300m capsules annually.


The 10-sq-km Al Ain Industrial City (AAIC) has attracted more than Dh29bn ($7.9bn) in investment since it was created in 2004, and its 650 units are home to a range of different industries. Arkan Cement produces 4m tonnes of cement and 3.2m tonnes of clinker per annum. Al Ahlia Gulf Line General Trading is a joint venture between stakeholders in Oman and the UAE, and has the rights to manufacture, distribute and market Coca-Cola-branded drinks in both countries. Abu Dhabi Refreshments Company distributes PepsiCo products in the UAE. Al Ain is also the production centre for several food businesses including Al Foah, which processes and packages 113,000 tonnes of dates per year; Al Ain Dairy, a government-owned dairy and poultry company; and Agthia, which produces bottled water, juices, frozen food and animal feed.

ICAD and AAIC were both working on new developments in 2018. Within ICAD, 261 prefabricated units are being built on a 300,000-sq-metre area to provide workshops and warehousing aimed at attracting more small businesses.

In 2017, 37 new factories obtained licences and started production in dedicated industrial clusters, bringing in combined investment of $1.7bn


The Nibras Al Ain Aerospace Park is a 5-sq-km development dedicated to establishing a sustainable aerospace industry for Abu Dhabi. It was created by the state-owned holding company Mubadala Investment Company and Abu Dhabi Airports Company, and is home to aerospace manufacturer Strata, Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments (ADASI), the Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Centre (AMMROC) and Horizon International Flight Academy. Strata makes components for international aviation companies including Boeing and Airbus, while ADASI and AMMROC both have a military focus and work closely with the UAE Armed Forces (see Security, Aerospace & Defence chapter). ADASI produces autonomous vehicles capable of operating on land, underwater or in the air, while AMMROC specialises in the maintenance of military aircraft.

Tawazun Industrial Park

Located to the east of Abu Dhabi City, Tawazun Industrial Park is a zone that is purely focused on defence industries. Companies on the site manufacture a range of products with military applications, which include ammunition, small arms, pyrotechnics and ballistic vests.

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The Report: Abu Dhabi 2019

Industry chapter from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2019

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