(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Sixty to 70 of the dispensers may be installed globally by the end this year, compared with about 40 due to be operating by the end of the second quarter, said Thomas Geissler, chief executive officer of the Reutlingen, Germany-based company. It installed machines in Abu Dhabi and Dubai last year and plans more in Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar this year.
Gold plunged 28 per cent last year, the most since 1981, as some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value.
As investors sold through gold-backed funds, more bullion moved to Asian countries such as China as lower prices boosted demand. The flow to Asia may help build hubs like Dubai, an emirate that now accounts for about 25 per cent of global gold trading.
"The decrease in gold prices is very good for our business," Geissler said on Thursday from Geneva. "We've found very good success in the Middle East. We are concentrating in the Middle East hub and the spread to countries with an affinity to gold."
Bullion for immediate delivery climbed 4.7 per cent to 1,262.45 an ounce in London since the start of January, rebounding from the first annual decline in 13 years. Prices that reached a six-month low of 1,182.52 on December 31 compare with a record 1,921.15 set in September 2011.
Gold demand in Dubai grew eightfold in the past six to 10 years, Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange chief executive officer Gary Anderson has said. The DGCX plans to list a spot gold contract this year to add to its futures offering, Anderson said in October. Investors sold 869.1 metric tonnes last year from exchange-traded products traded mostly in the US and Europe, more than was bought in the previous three years combined, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Holdings reached 1,736 tonnes on January 28, the lowest since October 2009.
Ex Oriente also has dispensers in Europe and the US. The machines offer gold ingots and coins ranging from one gram to 250 grams (eight ounces).
While demand from the units has been "quite steady" since last year, turnover at the company's online bullion brokerage TG-Gold-Super-Markt jumped fivefold to a "couple of tonnes" last year from 2012, Geissler said.