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Dubai property billionaire mulling data centre investments in Italy

Potential investments could be linked to a wider masterplan that will see sites established in Africa, Asia, CIS, Europe, and the Middle East.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

3 Mins

September 22, 2021 | 1:00 AM BST

Dubai property billionaire mulling data centre investments in Italy

Hussain Sajwani, founder of global property development company, DAMAC Properties and founder and Chairman of the DICO Group of Companies. Source: Hussain Sajwani

Dubai’s property firm DAMAC (DAMAC.DU) could soon set up a data centre footprint in Italy, according to the company’s co-founder.

Speaking at a news conference, when asked if the business was considering any further investments in Italy, Hussain Sajwani said: “We are looking at data centres.”

A spokesman for DAMAC said the company is open to several options, including buying already existing sites and creating joint ventures with other partners.

Sajwani’s links to Italy go back to 2019 when the Emirati billionaire businessman rescued Italian fashion group Cavalli through his private investment company Vision Investments, part of the DICO Group. Cavalli has this week announced plans to open a $545 million, 70-floor skyscraper in Dubai in collaboration with Damac.

No further details have been shared on the potential Italian data centre investments.

Italy’s data centre market is undergoing a wave of investments due to enterprise cloud demand. Over US$2.6 billion are set to be invested in the development of data centres across the country during 2021-2026, according to market data.

Interestingly, on August 30, a new data centre company – Edgnex – was created in Dubai, reportedly backed by a “multi-billion-dollar Dubai property firm”.

On its website, Edgnex says it will be announcing acquisitions, building projects and partnerships focused on developing local data centre facilities in emerging or underserved markets globally.

The Tech Capital understands that a “number of sites” will be established in Africa, Asia, CIS, Europe, and the Middle East. This could mean that if Edgnex is to be the vehicle under which DAMAC might invest in data centres, the Italian deployments may just be part of a larger masterplan.

Some of the company’s team is mostly made of executives with direct links to DAMAC and the DICO Group, including Edgnex’s SVP Thierry Leleu who has since October 2020 served as SVP of acquisitions for the DICO Group.

Leleu said at the time of launch: “There is a tremendous opportunity in developing the next digital hubs and moving with greater speed and agility when developing local digital infrastructure. We are committed to accelerating the development of data centre facilities in local markets globally.

“While digital hubs have been established in key crossroads and interconnection points across the globe, it is the next digital hubs that have been underserved and overlooked that need digital infrastructure investment.”

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João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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