Arabtec CEO: Expansion will be our focus in 2011by Elizabeth Broomhall on Oct 27, 2010
The CEO of Arabtec Construction, Thomas Barry, said his company would be focusing primarily on geographical expansion during 2011.
Commenting in the context of a panel discussion at the Construction Week conference, the head of the GCC construction giant said that Saudi Arabia would be the firm's major focus, due to the high demand for infrastructure and huge spending plans.
He added however, that the company would continue to look at other regions, including Syria, Egypt, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.
Addressing the audience, Barry said: "At Arabtec we will continue to focus on Abu Dhabi, as there are still a lot of projects there.
"Some may be a bit slow to come to fruition, and margins will be tight because of competition from other local contractors looking for work there.
"But our major focus will be Saudi Arabia. They'll be spending around $400 billion over the next few years to improve residential areas, hospitals, schools, rail.
"The Egypt and Syrian markets will also be important for us. There are some big projects in Damascus. In Egypt they tend to carry out some large projects, so those will be big targets for us as well.
He added that Qatar would also be an ongoing focus, especially if the country was successful in its bid for the World Cup.
"We feel quite upbeat about Qatar, it's certainly not like Dubai two years ago, but it's steady."
Asked about the potential difficulties associated with working in Saudi, Mr Barry was honest.
"Working in Saudi, so getting set up there and getting established, is very difficult, more difficult than we first anticipated.
"Of course there are drawbacks to working in Saudi, but ultimately when you get there, there are a lot of opportunities. It is going to be a very important market for many companies from the UAE.
No other geographical markets were mentioned by the CEO, but he suggested that none would be ruled out.
"We have been appraoched by Korea recently, but we we tend to take each opportunity as it comes.
"We are optimistic about the future."