Cushman & Wakefield has cut staff numbers in its Dubai office in a restructuring that will see the international property consultancy shift its focus to Bahrain, Arabian Business has learned.
The US headquartered firm, which has operated its regional headquarters from the emirate since 2008, is understood to have made several redundancies and seen a number of resignations after it announced plans to restructure.
The company’s head of Middle East operations, Mike Atwell, is understood to have relocated from Dubai to Bahrain under the revamp.
Dubai was hit hard by the global economic crisis, which saw property prices decline by around 60 percent as banks curtailed their lending and speculators left the market.
About half of construction projects in Dubai, the Gulf’s busiest builder until late-2008, were cancelled in the wake of the financial crisis, forcing firms to seek out work in new markets.
UAE real estate purchases dropped by 44 percent to 1,459 in the third quarter of this year compared to the same period a year earlier, CBRE said last month. In the third quarter of 2008, at the height of the five-year property boom, 4,059 transactions were made in the third quarter.
Analysts remain concerned that the estimated 33,000 new homes scheduled to hit Dubai’s market by end-2012 could cause fresh declines in rental and sale prices. Rating agency Moody's said last month that that house prices are unlikely to recover until 2016.
Cushman & Wakefield said in an emailed statement it was shifting its focus to other areas of growth in the Middle East.
“Cushman & Wakefield recently restructured its Dubai office to primarily focus on servicing the needs of its corporate clients in the Middle East region,” it said.
“Cushman & Wakefield continues to operate and service clients from Dubai and also from Bahrain....Cushman & Wakefield is currently exploring potential client-led expansion opportunities in other parts of the Middle East region.”
The company is one of a number of international firms to have trimmed back their workforces in Dubai in recent months. International lenders Deutsche Bank and Credit Agricole are understood to have withdrawn employees from Dubai as deals dry up, revenue falls and lenders curb costs.
HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, said last month it would stop offering brokerage services to retail investors in the United Arab Emirates.
Exor, the investment arm of the Agnelli family who also run the car giant Fiat, acquired a 71.5 percent stake in Cushman & Wakefield in 2007, replacing the Rockefeller Group as a majority shareholder.