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April 30, 2008

Arab firm unveils expansion plans

A leading professional services firm in the Middle East has revealed a policy to extend its footprint into emerging markets spanning between the Arab world and China.

The Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAGorg) has opened an office in Istanbul, Turkey, in addition to recently opened offices in Moscow, Bangalore and Mumbai. Plans are also underway for the multi-disciplinary organisation to spread into Afghanistan and Iran.

TAGorg now has 70 offices worldwide and more than 2,000 professionals.

Chairman and chief executive Talal Abu-Ghazaleh told the International Accounting Bulletin the organisation was moving into these new economies to follow the investment trail and respond to client demand.

“I can see that the region extending from here to China is going to not only witness strong growth but also integration as a result of many factors,” Abu-Ghazaleh explained. “We are now preparing ourselves for this coming sort of de facto free trade area. As a result we will see a lot of needs for professional services. Some of our most important offices were opened because of flow of capital from the gulf. Our gulf region clients wanted to use our services in these non-oil producing Arab countries.”

High organic growth

TAGorg’s aggressive but measured expansion strategy involves increasing the organisation’s workforce by 20 percent this year on the back of 25 percent growth in 2007.

Abu-Ghazaleh noted: “Normally we spend 5-10 percent of our revenues on training. Last year, we spent 50 percent of our revenues on training and we actually managed to get enough profits to keep the [whole] operation going for the year.”

To accommodate this influx of manpower, which is due to an expansion in IT, intellectual property, accounting, auditing, legal services and real estate services, the organisation has recently purchased large areas of floor space in the region.

This month, TAGorg secured offices in the Dubai International Financial Centre, and recently purchased entire floors in the Westbury Tower of Dubai and the ADDAX Tower of Abu Dhabi. Abu-Ghazaleh said TAGorg has been growing its revenues by an average of 50 percent year-on-year for the past decade.

Arvind Hickman

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