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Face to face: Dr JR Gangaramani, Al Fara'a Group

by Yamurai Zendera on Nov 17, 2013

"Anything challenging appeals to us," says Dr Gangaramani.

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The name of Dr. JR Gangaramani has been synonymous with the rapid rise of the UAE construction industry over the last 40 years. The India-born building magnate told Yamurai Zendera that his desire for success is still as strong as ever.

As co-founder of the privately-held Al Fara’a Group in 1980, Dr. JR Gangaramani has been involved in numerous projects across this country.

Under his building arm – Al Fara’a General Contracting – he is currently associated with government and private projects worth more than AED1bn ($272m). His appetite for being at the forefront of development in the UAE and further afield remains undiminished.

Gangaramani’s love affair with the UAE began when he arrived from India in 1974, after completing an engineering degree at Mumbai University three years earlier. He started his industry career as a project engineer on the Dubai World Trade Centre, at the time the tallest “hi-tech” building in the Middle East and a signal of things to come.

“Passion to build a culture of excellence in my domain of expertise keeps me motivated in my role,” says the Al Fara’a Group president and executive chairman.

To appreciate the size of the company as it stands today, one has to remember that is made up of 11 affiliates and employs just shy of 19,700 people across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and India.

Referring to Al Fara’a General Contracting, Gangaramani says he‘s “very optimistic” about its business results for 2013, and for next year is encouraged by “an increasing number of solid and challenging projects being slated in the UAE and GCC.”

Immediate growth strategies have involved tapping into fast-emerging sectors such as healthcare, hospitality and education, as well as focusing on its bread-and-butter work of residential and commercial projects.

The oil and gas and infrastructure markets are also of interest to the company, while the return of confidence in the real estate sector is “giving us great stimuli to augment our capabilities for executing niche residential projects,” says Gangaramani.

One of the firm’s most recent project wins was the Awqaf building in Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi; the largest residential and commercial endowment (Waqf) in the UAE. The reconstruction of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan building that goes back to 1975 is expected to be completed by 2016, with Al Fara’a recently finishing the enabling works.

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