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Bahrain companies eye ventures in Iraq.

Byline: ARTHUR MACDONALD

MANAMA: Visitors were thin on the ground at the Gulf Iraq Expo (GIX) yesterday. But in spite of a poor turnout for the second day of the first Iraqi industrial exhibition outside that country since the 2003 invasion, Bahraini exhibitors at the event were positive about the prospects of business being generated.

Hempel Paints customer service manager Mohammed Al Dees said they had received some positive feedback about business in Iraq. "We have been talking with a number of Iraqi businesses and we see the prospects of doing business there in the future. We have had some particularly positive talks with the construction groups," he said.

Alba's representative on their stand, Nader Amin Al Ansar, was disappointed about the second day turnout at the show though he said the company had received some positive feedback from the event so far.

"Since the show opened we have made some good contacts that could translate into business in the future. The first day was very busy and we met some people with whom we can develop business," he said.

Maxwell Oil & Gas Services were also highly positive about the contacts they had made. Sales engineer Mohamed A Aziz said the company had managed to arrange a meeting with the Iraqi oil ministry and had also made some positive contacts from Oman and Saudi Arabia on the first day. He said his company, which specialises in everything from power plants to oil services, had met several Iraqi businesspeople and were looking for a meeting with the country's oil minister.

Al Safir Hotel and Tower operations manager Mohamed Al Sayed said they had received a lot of interest both from Iraq and GCC visitors to the exhibition who were keen on using their facility for a return visit to the kingdom with their family.

As the operator of the event's cafeteria he said he was also impressed with the number of people who had turned up on the opening day which saw them do a lot of business.

Awal Gulf Manufacturing spokesman admitted he was a bit disappointed about the turnout yesterday.

But he said his company, which is both a regional and international supplier of fridges, freezers and AC systems, had made some new contacts both with Iraqi businesses and other potential customers across the region during the vent.

Ahli United Bank, which is a major player in the reconstruction of Iraq through its 49 per cent stake in a joint venture with the Iraqi government in Commercial Bank of Iraq, was also doing a lot of business during the event with a number of regional businesses enquiring at its stand about the banking facilities it could offer to businesses interested in developing ties with Iraq.

business@gdn.com.bh

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:May 1, 2008
Words:474
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