In the previous article reviewing the MENA region, we commented that at the time of writing (a) foreign participation in cable companies in most parts of the region was limited, and that (b) cross-border interests amongst the regional cable-makers had not developed very extensively. This situation has changed, as over the last two years several of the major global players in the cable industry have acquired interests in the region. Furthermore, some of the large cable-making groups within the region have expanded outside their home territory, either through making acquisitions or through establishing green-field operations in other MENA countries. In addition to these strategic moves, established players in the region have been expanding their existing operations by adding production capacity. There have also been examples of new entrants to the cable industry setting up production operations. All these developments have led to a very substantial increase in capacity within the region.
Some of the smaller national markets in the Gulf region have traditionally been served through imported cables – by imports from other GCC countries or from outside the region. With the continuing boom in demand, cable manufacturing operations are being established in countries that have previously had no local cable production, in Qatar, for example. By coincidence, in a single week in June 2008, there were two separate announcements of investments in cable manufacturing in Qatar!