Face to face: Abie Musa, MVLby James Morgan on Nov 29, 2014
Abie Musa tells James Morgan why after just three years in business, Dubai-headquartered defence contractor, MVL, now boasts $300mn of aggregate contracts
When I first made contact with Abie Musa, he came dangerously close to apologising for the size of Dubai-based defence contractor, MVL.
The firm’s managing director seemed a little concerned that an aggregate contract portfolio of $300mn wouldn’t merit the attention of the region’s business media; a fear that I quickly attempted to allay.
Musa’s modesty is justified in one sense. Whilst contracts worth $300mn are not to be sniffed at, they aren’t quite sufficient to place MVL up there with the sector’s biggest players.
However, the timespan within which Musa and his colleagues have achieved this position, the contracts that the firm has secured, and the nature of the clients involved, make MVL’s story nothing short of remarkable.
Point number one: MVL is just three years of age. Point number two: within the space of a fortnight, the firm was awarded construction and engineering contracts for a pair of brigade garrisons and the National Police Command Center (NPCC) in Afghanistan.
Point number three: MVL’s clients include the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoIA). Plenty of individuals in Musa’s position would struggle to be so modest.
“MVL started life as a materials supply and logistics provider, catering to prime contractors for US defence projects in Afghanistan,” he explained.
“This experience paved the way for various prime contract awards in the US federal defence contracting market,”
So just how did a fledgling materials supply and logistics company manage to transform itself into a firm with $300mn of defence contracts in a timeframe of just three years?
“We were in the right place at the right time,” said Musa, with trademark modesty.
“We took over our first project as a subcontractor because the prime contractor became insolvent. The DoD had to re-award all of this work to somebody.
“We had already taken over as the main subcontractor on this first job – we were conducting approximately 80% of the work on that project. Since we were performing well, the client asked us whether we were interested in two additional contracts. We said that we were, and we ended up securing three prime contracts within two weeks.
“That’s how it exploded; that was the turning point for us,” he explained.
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