The Jebel Ali Free Zone, or Jafza, a leading industrial free zone in the Middle East, said on Sunday that a majority of sukuk-holders had given it consent for an early redemption of a Dh7.5 billion-equivalent Islamic bond. The free zone, which has been recording a steady surge in the number of industrial companies joining the zone, said a majority representing 89 per cent of certificate holders had voted in favour of the Extraordinary Resolution in a meeting on May 24 in London. “Accordingly the consent conditions have been satisfied and the Deed of Amendment has been executed,” the free zone, part of a unit owned by Dubai World, said in statement posted on Nasdaq Dubai. Citigroup, Dubai Islamic Bank and Standard Chartered were appointed as solicitation agents. The 3.01 per cent, Dh7.5 billion sukuk was originally due in November. The company announced last month it was in advanced talks with financial institutions over a financing package to meet its debt obligation. In order to change any terms of the certificates due for maturity in November the company was legally bound to seek approval from holders. Jafza has been preparing a three-pronged approach to the refinancing, consisting of a syndicated loan, another sukuk issue, and partial cash repayment. Asset sales are also an option. Jafza reported a net profit of Dh242 million in 2011, up from Dh140 million in the previous year, its financial statements showed. The number of industrial companies in Jafza stood at 593 at the end of 2011, up 4.5 per cent from the previous year. Last year more than 400 new companies, including 34 new industrial companies, joined the free zone. The new entrants include some of the globally known names like Ace Hardware, AO Smith, Caterpillar, Ford, Oracle, Apollo Tyres, Baumer among others. Jafza has been one of the main drivers of Dubai and the UAE’s incredible growth over the years. The zone has contributed to Dubai’s gross domestic product, or GDP, at over 20 per cent on year-to-year basis, accounted for more than 50 per cent of Dubai’s exports and 43 per cent of all foreign direct investment, or FDI, inflow into the UAE. The free zone’s key strength remains integrated infrastructure, which includes an ideal set of logistics matrices, the best international practices and exceptional customer service. Total trade generated by companies with a manufacturing licence stood at Dh70 billion, in 2010, which amounts to little over 30 per cent of Jafza’s total external trade of Dh233.27 billion.