The plastics processing industry of the United Arab Emirates is growing at a rate of more than 5 percent annually, chemicals group Al Shihab Al Thahabi said on last week.

Driving this growth is local manufacturers choosing to upgrade to new machines with the aim of improving efficiency, lowering operating and utility costs and increasing production.

Al Shihab Al Thahabi noted that the plastics processing industry is showing similar growth to the economy in general. After a slight correction in 2009 that was triggered by international factors, the UAE economy is now set to grow at least at this rate, the company explained.

ArabPlast 2015, a plastics and rubber trade exhibition, will be held in Dubai in January.

Satish Khanna, general manager of Al Fajer Information and Services, co-organiser of ArabPlast 2015 with German's Messe Dusseldorf, said that although the plastics processing industry in Europe is much bigger than in the UAE, the industry in the UAE compares very favourably to Europe in terms of the high-tech machinery used in its factories.

"It is a credit to the UAE industry that it is always looking to innovate and try new products and processes. Hence we follow very closely developments in plastics processing machinery all over the world," added Rahim K. Jamal, general manager of Al Shihab Al Thahabi.