Sixty-strong London marketing services group Mercier Gray is to open two offices in the United Arab Emirates in a joint venture with Middle Eastern conglomerate the Kanoo Group.
The offices will open in the next six weeks and will be wholly-owned subsidiaries of Mercier Gray, based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Each will employ a team of six, of which two will be designers. Mercier Gray specialises in design, advertising, sales promotion and direct mail.
The Kanoo Group will sponsor Mercier Gray, provide it with local contacts and help it to negotiate the area’s complex legal and political landscape.
Sponsorship by a national company is obligatory for overseas companies wishing to establish a presence in the region.
In return for its services, Mercier Gray will pay the Kanoo Group directly for its advice and a commission on any business it helps it win.
Mercier Gray managing director Rob Gray says the group is opening the two Middle Eastern offices because it is hard to do business in the region without a presence.
Gray is currently interviewing for a managing director with good local contacts to run both offices. The consultancy is also recruiting the rest of the workforce. All initial appointments will be people living in the region.
“At first most of the creative work will be handled in London. As the Middle Eastern offices grow we may well put some of our London designers into them,” says Gray.