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Bahraini MEP contractor plans KSA and Qatar entry

Global Mechanical & Electrical Contracting also plans growth at home

Mahmood Kooheji, vice chairman of AJM Kooheji Group, and Sanjeev Awasthi, chief operating officer.
Mahmood Kooheji, vice chairman of AJM Kooheji Group, and Sanjeev Awasthi, chief operating officer.

Bahrain-based Global Mechanical & Electrical Contracting is planning to enter the Saudi Arabian and Qatari markets in the next two years, according to Mahmood Kooheji, vice-chairman of the company's parent group.

The MEP contractor, which was established in 2007, hopes to use the regional network of its established parent company AJM Kooheji Group to assist its expansion into neighbouring GCC markets.

“As AJM Kooheji Group, we have some business outside Bahrain – in Dubai, Qatar and Iraq,” Kooheji told MEP Middle East. “Hopefully with Global Mechanical in the years to come we will be in the other GCC countries. We have some very specific plans to be in Saudi Arabia within this year and maybe in Qatar in two years’ time.”

The company also revealed ambitious growth plans for its home market of Bahrain. Global Mechanical & Electrical Contracting attained Grade A contractor status at the beginning of 2014 and AJM Kooheji chief operating officer Sanjeev Awasthi said that this should help the company become a major player in the Bahraini market.

“Our target, in terms of growth, is to attain at least a 10% market share in the next three years,” said Awasthi.

"That is very tough but we feel that this is possible. That should take us places. We got the Grade A contractor status at the start of the year. We have a couple of [government] ministry jobs and [the Grade A status] was one of the prime requirements for securing those. Now we can get any size of a job – it depends on us.”

The Bahraini construction industry has endured a difficult period over the last six years due to a recession in the wider economy that began in 2007, since exacerbated by ongoing civil unrest that started as part of the so-called “Arab Spring” protests in 2011.

Awasthi said that this tough operating climate has seen the MEP contracting industry also contend with a shortage of “quality manpower” and an “intense amount of competition”. However, he assessed propects for the industry in the coming years as promising.

“The Bahrain market is now close to $500mn (BHD 188.5mn) to $600m, in terms of MEP,” he said. “Bahrain is now showing signs of improvement. There is a lot of government investment with nearly $10bn given by the other GCC states to Bahrain during the recent problems. A lot of this money has gone into infrastructure development.

“2013 was a better year and 2014 is supposed to be the best year in the last four or five. We assume that around 10 to 15% growth should definitely happen in this market. As per my estimate, this market should cross the $1bn figure by 2017 or 2018 in terms of the overall MEP market which, for a small country like this, is a very good number.”

Global Mechanical & Electrical Contracting was established in 2007. The company is currently working on a variety of projects in Bahrain, including the Diyar Al Muharraq development – one of the country’s largest ongoing projects.

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Construction Week - Issue 761
Mar 21, 2020