Istithmar cuts 10% of workforce

Dubai World-owned Istithmar World has reduced its staff by 13 in a bid to address existing market conditions.

Dubai government-backed investment firm Istithmar World has cut 13 jobs, equal to 10 percent of its workforce. The firm cited current external market conditions and a strategy to align resources in line with business requirements for 2009 as the reasons for its move.

Istithmar World was formerly know as Istithmar, but rebranded in 2008 as it sought to diversify its activities. It is currently split into four separately managed divisions: private equity arm Istithmar World Capital, an aviation unit called Istithmar Aviation, a venture division called Istithmar Ventures and Istithmar World Real Estate.

The firm said it remains confident of its investment strategy to drive long-term growth and it has adjusted its short-term business plan to make the most of opportunities that will come about when the economy starts recovering.

Istithmar World is owned by Dubai World, which in turn is owned by the Dubai government. The firm has deployed more than $3 billion of capital in real estate, consumer, industrial and financial sectors. Established in 2003, Istithmar World currently manages about $12 billion.

In October 2008, the firm opened its second overseas office in New York to be used as a hub for its regional investment activities including further investments in Canada and the US and also future investment elsewhere in the Americas.

The firm has another office in Shanghai which it opened in November 2007.

Last month, Shuaa Capital, the Dubai-based investment bank, also disclosed plans to cut 9 percent of its workforce in the country in the wake of the credit crunch. About 21 jobs are expected to have been lost predominantly in the back- and mid-office operations of the firm.