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Khalaf Al Habtoor receives visit from member of French parliament

( DUBAI, UAE – Mr. Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group of Companies, welcomed on Tuesday, April 7, 2009, Mr. Jerome Chartier, member of the French parliament, department of Val d’Oise. During the visit, discussions focused on the current global financial situations, its impact on both countries, and the continuing growth of the UAE-French relations.

Mr. Chartier’s interest laid in further understanding the true impact the economic recession had on the UAE and the government’s approach in tackling the crisis. “The UAE has naturally been affected,” explained Mr. Al Habtoor, “but not to the extent that has been portrayed in local and international media nor by the inaccurate analyses of rating agencies. Unfortunately, there is a lot of false hype, which the media is creating, which has mostly led to a state of panic that is much larger than the actual impact of the crisis.”

Signs of growth are already apparent in the UAE, where the banking sector has seen more growth in the first quarter of 2009 than it did in 2008. However, Mr. Al Habtoor questioned the inconsistency between such growth and the decline in bank shares, stating: “This is irrational and indicative that there is a lack of knowledge among investors, who should be analyzing the growth trends in companies’ operations and invest accordingly. Such is an correct manner of investing; remaining fixated on declining shares and not paying attention to company profits.”

Mr. Al Habtoor continued to discuss the efforts of the federal government and the Central Bank to counter the economic situation throughout the Emirates. “The federal government is studying and proposing numerous plans to sustain the nation’s economy. Such efforts, initiated by both the federal government and the Central Bank are already showing signs of stabilization in the economy,” explained Mr. Al Habtoor.

Mr. Al Habtoor also explained that it is the strong leadership ties between all seven Emirates that is helping the country to unitedly step out of the current global crisis. “The relations between Dubai and Abu Dhabi go farther than two governing bodies. They are two ruling families deeply rooted into one another, who have continuously worked as one to achieve what is of best interest to the UAE altogether.”

It is through such cooperation and efforts, that the government realizes that initiating infrastructure projects in the UAE is vital to restoring the UAE economy. This is evident in Abu Dhabi’s 2030 economic plan, which mainly entails development projects of the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport, particularly the Abu Dhabi Metro.

“Planning and executing infrastructure-related projects is money that is not lost,” added Mr. Al Habtoor. “It would help regenerate jobs for the construction industry at large. This would in turn start the wheel of growth in various other industries and eventually lead to the prospering growth of the UAE economy.”

In discussing the impact, which the crisis had on privately run companies, including Al Habtoor Group, Mr. Al Habtoor stated, “Naturally no business organization has been entirely unharmed from the current crisis, however, we are striving to achieve the same growth rate achieved in 2008.”

Similarly, Mr. Chartier explained that one of the top priorities on France’s list is proposing a funding plan to enhance the economy throughout the country. He also expressed hope in President Obama’s approach of cooperation with the rest of the world as seen in the recent G-20 summit.

Saif Al Mazrooei Director Community Relation and Communications Al Habtoor Group Tel: +9714 343 1111 Web:

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