Avaya pledges stronger presence in the UAE

US firm moving forward with over $300mln in cash on its balance sheet

A tour boat is seen at the Dubai Marina in Dubai, United Arab Emirates December 11, 2017.

A tour boat is seen at the Dubai Marina in Dubai, United Arab Emirates December 11, 2017.

REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
US technology firm Avaya is planning to move forward stronger than ever in the UAE following its global emergence from Chapter 11 status last week, a top official said.

"In January 2017, the company reorganised its business financials. over-leveraged with debts coming from 10 years ago, and that was not a reflection on the strength of our operations or business model," Fadi Hani, vice-president for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Avaya, said.

"Moreover, Avaya continued to maintain strong financial and operational performance throughout the restructuring period, including generating positive cash flow and improving gross margin."

Globally, the company closed more than 4,000 major customer contracts, recruited approximately 1,000 new partners and invested more than $225 million in R&D during the 2017 financial year. Its business in the UAE progressed strongly with landmark projects done with customers such as Dubai Police, Mashreq Bank, dnata, the Roads and Transport Authority and many more.

Avaya is moving forward with more than $300 million in cash on its balance sheet, and a debt load approximately $3 billion lower than before it entered restructuring. It will also be able to increase its investment in innovation with approximately $300 million in cash savings annually as a result of reduced interest expenses and pension contributions. The next stage, Hani adds, is to do a public listing on the New York Stock Exchange, which it is anticipating to do in early 2018.

"When it comes to these R&D investments, we are building an ecosystem of partners with programmes focused on expanding the availability of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and blockchain that can help our customers drive business success in today's digital world," he added.

"Businesses in UAE also want to drive new efficiencies for their organisation through increased automation," Hani said.

The GCC region, he pointed out, is today a global forerunner in its adoption of these emerging technologies, and that makes it an exciting place for tech companies to build on growth.

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