By Babu Das Augustine, Deputy Busijness Editor  www.gulfnews.com

Dubai: Standard Chartered yesterday broke ground for in $140 million (Dh513.8 million) Dubai headquarters in Down Town Dubai, adjacent to Emaar Square.

    *  Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum (fourth from right), President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group; Peter Sands (third from right), Group Chief Executive; Ahmad Humaid Al Tayer (second from right), Governor of DIFC, and V. Shankar (fourth from left), CEO of Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas, are joined by other guests and officials during a ground breaking ceremony in Emaar Square to mark the start of construction of the new Standard Chartered Bank’s Dubai head office.     * Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News
* Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum (fourth from right), President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group; Peter Sands (third from right), Group Chief Executive; Ahmad Humaid Al Tayer (second from right), Governor of DIFC, and V. Shankar (fourth from left), CEO of Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas, are joined by other guests and officials during a ground breaking ceremony in Emaar Square to mark the start of construction of the new Standard Chartered Bank’s Dubai head office. * Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News

The ceremony was attened by Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, and Ahmad Humaid Al Tayer, Governor of DIFC.

Peter Sands, Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered Plc, and V. Shankar, CEO, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas, Standard Chartered Bank hosted the event.

The bank will lease eight of the 13 office levels in the building for an initial period of 15 years and is expected to start relocating its staff during the fourth quarter of 2012.

“This is a strategic investment, demonstrating Standard Chartered’s long-term commitment to our customers, clients and the community in the UAE. More importantly, this is a strong endorsement of our brand promise to be here for good in the markets we operate in.

“We have implemented energy saving and water efficiency measures among other green features in the building to ensure minimal impact on the environment,” said Sands.

Lease agreement

Under the lease, Standard Chartered will have full and exclusive naming rights for the building and will occupy in excess of 125,000 square feet.

The lease enables the Bank to accommodate future increases in staff and includes built-in scalability for further expansion.

The leased space will have a capacity for about 1,250 staff and will include a state-of-the-art trading floor. “The move to Downtown Dubai area will allow us to accommodate our growing workforce to support business growth across the UAE.

“This is a significant milestone for us at Standard Chartered and most importantly a strong demonstration of our commitment to the UAE,” said Shankar.

The building is being developed by Gulf Resources Development and Investment LLC (GRDI).

GRDI is a development and investment company owned and operated by Mohammed Salem Al Menhali and Jim Osborne.

Regional hub

Standard Chartered’s regional hub will continue to be situated at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), where the Bank operates the biggest trading floor in the region.

Standard Chartered has been operating in the UAE for 53 years and employs 2,300 people across the UAE.

Comment: revenue rises 6%

Standard Chartered, which generates more than four fifths of its profit in Asia and other emerging markets, said yesterday that the UAE is one of its top five markets globally in terms of revenue and profitability.

Middle East and South Asia, which includes the UAE reported 130 per cent increase in operating profit last year to $841 million compared to $366 million in 2009. Commenting on the performance of the UAE operations V. Shankar, CEO, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas, Standard Chartered Bank, said the country accounted for about 50 per cent of the regional profit.

The revenue from UAE grew 6 per cent in 2010 to more than $1 billion. Top bank officials said the bank saw significant decline in loan impairments last year and expects strong business outlook for the year ahead.

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