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PricewaterhouseCoopers Says Middle East Fastest Growing Region

The Middle East, where several oil-rich governments are boosting spending, has become consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers’s fastest growing region with revenue expected to rise 25 percent this year.

“Notwithstanding some of the clouds that are here, and there are several, we see the Middle East as one of our biggest investment areas,” Dennis Nally, PricewatherhouseCoopers International Ltd.’s chairman, said in an interview in Dubai on March 5. “All our businesses, assurance, tax and advisory, are doing very well, but obviously led by our advisory business.”

PricewaterhouseCooper’s Middle East business employs more than 2,500 professionals, and revenue in the Middle East and Africa in the fiscal year ending June 2011 grew 20 percent to $987 million, it said in October. Global revenue advanced 10 percent to $29.2 billion.

Governments and companies in the Persian Gulf region are using oil revenue to build infrastructure to diversify their economies, which is boosting growth and demand for audit services and financial advice. Saudi Arabia has pledged to spend more than $500 billion to build homes and industrial projects, while Qatar has a $88 billion investment program to prepare for the 2022 Soccer World Cup.

The share of emerging markets in PricewaterhouseCooper’s global revenue is projected to double to about 42 percent over the next five years from about 20 percent now as the worldwide economy increasingly relies on them to lift growth, Nally said.

“It’s a direct reflection of where our clients are, what they are doing, where they are growing and where they are investing,” said New York-based Nally, who is in Dubai to attend the company’s quarterly strategy meeting. “Our business just follows our clients, and the Middle East is a big part of that as you might imagine.”

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