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Face to face: Joseph K. Daher, Almabani

by Michael Fahy on May 3, 2014

Almabani General Contractors CEO Joseph K Daher.
Almabani General Contractors CEO Joseph K Daher.

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The management of Almabani General Contractors will have a job on its hands to achieve the ambitious growth targets it has set itself.

The firm, which has already doubled in size over the past three years, increasing turnover from $450mn in 2011 to an expected $1bn by the end of this year, is looking to grow by around 20-25% a year over the next five years, new CEO Joseph K. Daher says.

Daher adds that the firm is targeting revenues of over $2bn by 2018, but says: “If we are lucky and win another mega-project such as the metro of Madinah or the Eastern Province – there are plenty nowadays – that would take us much farther than the figures I have mentioned.”

Last year the company achieved what Daher said was “probably the biggest achievement” in its 41-year history when it won (as part of the BACS consortium) the biggest of the contracts available on the Riyadh Metro.

As part of a group that also contains Bechtel, Consolidated Contractors Corp and Siemens, it is building lines one and two of the metro. Daher explains this involves around 63km of metro lines – one-third of which will be elevated, one-third at grade level and one-third, the trickiest element, will run underground through the heart of the city.

“Our share of the Riyadh Metro project comprises 40 stations out of 84, and two of the 40 stations are iconic – one designed by Zaha Hadid at King Abdullah Financial District and one designed by Prof. Gerber to be built at the intersection of Olaya and King Abdullah Road,” he says.

“We are working hard with our partners to mobilise fast, design and start construction on the ground,” he tells CW just ahead of the recent groundbreaking ceremony that took place last month.

“The most difficult part is probably line one, where it’s a very busy street, Olaya St, passing Qasr Al Hokn.”

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Riyadh governor Prince Khaled bin Bandar said that a high-level committee had been set up to solve problems facing the project’s implementation – most notably the traffic.

Daher says the challenge for all three of the consortia implementing the $23.5bn, six-line project was “enormous”, particularly the large-scale utilities and traffic relocations that need to take place.

In total, around 25,000 employees are expected to be working just on the BACS section of the project for lines one and two. Indeed, the project is having a transformational effect on Almabani’s workforce. Up until last year, it employed 8,000 staff but by the end of the year this is expected to rise to 18,000.

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