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Emirati businessman forks out almost $5m for 'number one' license plate

Winning businessman said his ambition was 'always to be number one'
Emirati Saed Abdul Ghaffar al-Khouri poses with the most expensive car number-plate after he won it in an Abu Dhabi auction in 2008 (AFP)

An Emirati businessman has spent $4.9m at an auction to acquire a novelty licence plate, which features the number one, it was reported on Sunday.

The winning bidder, Emirati businessman Arif Ahmed al-Zarouni, told Gulf News: "My ambition is always to be number one."

Amidst a rowdy crowd of bidders, the bid managed to climb from the $272,000 opening bid into the millions in just under a minute, Arabian Business reported.

Zarouni’s final bid was 18 times the reserve price, but is not the highest sum that has been paid for a collector's registration plate in the UAE.

In 2008, $14.2m was paid at an auction for the number one plate of the richest of the UAE's seven emirates, Abu Dhabi. Zarouni's plate is for Sharjah, the third-richest emirate.

Sixty sought-after plates were up for sale during the auction over the weekend. The most popular numbers were 12, 22, 50, 100, 333, 777, 1000, 2016, 2020 and 99999.

The auction made a total of $13.6m.