Etihad’s recent 49 per cent acquisition of Alitalia is set to open an opportunity for fresh economic relations between the UAE and Italy.
On Thursday (August 7), a day before both airlines confirmed their partnership, Abu Dhabi-based Al Qudra Holding completed the €140 million (AED687m) purchase of the luxury Perla Ionica Resort in Catania, Sicily.
Interestingly, one of the new routes Etihad and Alitalia have established will be Abu Dhabi-Catania, which, along with new connections to Bologna and Venice, will encourage fresh relations within the Italian tourism industry.
Bilateral trade is also on the rise, having seen an increase of 56 per cent since 2010, according to the Italian embassy in Abu Dhabi. Moreover, boosted by the demand for industrial machinery and an increase in co-operation across the infrastructure sector, trade levels are expected to grow between 10 per cent and 15 per cent in 2015.
With on-going economic hardships across Mediterranean states, local developers hope that Al Quadra’s interest in southern Italy will open opportunity for further UAE investment in the country’s troubled real estate sector and beyond.
Italian authorities are well aware that, in previous instances, Etihad acquisitions paved the way for much larger, sector-wide trade and investment agreements.
Following the Abu Dhabi-based carrier’s 49 per cent purchase of Air Serbia in 2013, economic ties between the UAE and the Balkan state flourished to huge proportions. Aside from a $1.4 billion low-interest loan to Serbia, which quickly followed, the two states have initiated a $300m weapons deal, a $400m investment in boosting agriculture co-operation and, most impressively, a $5.4bn makeover of Serbia’s capital Belgrade by Dubai-based developer, Emaar Properties.
In an era of economic instability and increasing pressure from its European partners, the Italian government knows that making a new oil-rich friend will prove beneficial in the future.
Tuesday, August 12- 2014 @ 16:53 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.