Network traffic boss upbeat on Middle East growth

GITEX: F5 Networks says expansion in region will continue but at slower rate.

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By  Tom Arnold Published  October 23, 2008

The regional director of F5 Networks, whose products manage and route computer network traffic, says the firm remains optimistic about further Middle East growth, despite the global economic slowdown.

But Paul Sherry said following three years of a successive doubling of its business in the region the firm did not expect to achieve the same growth rate this year, although it would continue to invest in the Middle East.

Sherry said F5, which helps businesses manage network applications, last year achieved global sales of $576 million, of which Europe, Middle East and Africa accounted for 21 percent of that, but was not able to break the figure down regionally.

The US-based firm has over 300 customers in the Middle East and North Africa including 15 banks as well as financial, telecommunications, aviation, utilities and education companies.

The world leader in application delivery networking announced on Wednesday global revenue of $171.3 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, up 3 percent from $165.6 million in the previous quarter and 18 percent from $145.6 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007.

“It is hard to imagine the Middle East will be immune to the financial crisis but we’re still very optimistic about growth in the Middle East,” Sherry, regional director of Middle East and Africa, said on the sidelines of GITEX Technology Exhibition.

“We don’t think we will double business for this year but we will still see strong growth in the Middle East and will continue to invest here.”

With an office in Dubai already, F5 opened an office 15 months ago in Saudi Arabia, a country which now accounts for around 35 percent of Middle East sales.

It is active in 12 countries in the Middle East.

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