Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the financial hub for the Middle East, reported yesterday a 25% increase in net profits YoY, to $99m in 2017.
The results for the year ending 31 December reveal a rise from $79m in net profits in 2016. Over the same period, the total number of registered companies in DIFC rose 12% to 1,853.
DIFC is working towards achieving a 2024 growth strategy, which aims to increase the number of active financial firms to 1,000 and the combined workforce of DIFC-registered companies to 50,000. DIFC’s financial services sector grew to 473 firms, and the Centre’s workforce increased to 22,338 professionals. During the same period, an additional 384,200 square feet of space was leased, with DIFC properties maintaining a 99% occupancy rate.
In 2017, DIFC’s combined revenue was $221m at a similar level to 2016. DIFC’s total assets grew to $3.55 bn, a rise of 15% compared to 2016 ($3.08bn). During the same period, DIFC’s operating profit grew by 8% to $140m.
Commenting on DIFC’s performance, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and president of DIFC, said: “As a top ten ranked international financial centre, DIFC is a true reflection of the success story of Dubai. The emirate is a global example of economic diversification and the financial services sector remains one of the most significant contributors to Dubai’s GDP.”
Essa Kazim, chairman of the DIFC authority board of directors and governor of DIFC, added: “2017 was another record year for DIFC. Not only did we strengthen our position as MEASA’s leading financial centre, 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 DIFC by 2024.”
The total number of 315 new registrations in 2017 was a new record for DIFC, representing an average of 26 new registrations per month. The geographic representation in DIFC remained broadly similar year-on-year, with 36% originating from the Middle East, 33% from Europe, 11% from Asia, 10% from the United States, and 10% from other countries.