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Top 5 MEP contractors in the UAE

The big boys in the UAE's MEP sector reveal how business is faring

Drake & Scull Engineering
Drake & Scull Engineering
Al-Futtaim Engineering
Al-Futtaim Engineering
Trans Gulf
Trans Gulf

Drake & Scull Engineering

$1.1bn value of contracts won between Q1 2013 and Q2 2014

The figures produced by Drake & Scull Engineering (DSE) are truly staggering.

In the 18 months from 2013 Q1, the MEP division of the publicly-owned construction group won deals worth $1.1bn (AED 4.4bn).

Its largest award during the period came from the Louvre Museum project in Abu Dhabi where it bagged a $113m (AED 415m) contract.

However, in the last twelve months the contractor has also made a striking dent in the Qatari market, where it was awarded an $82.8m deal for work on Phase 1C of the Msheireb Downtown Doha project and a $96.7m (AED 355m) contract on the Mall of Qatar development.

With its workforce of 3,800 engineers and 11,800 labourers, the firm has also strengthened its already sizeable presence in the Kuwaiti and Saudi markets with a handful of wins in each, while completing and handing over 15 projects around the region.

“DSE has completed the internal merger and enhancement of its key services in the past year, and is now ready to offer its improved array of MEP and water and power technologies to clients,” says Ahmad Al Naser, managing director of Drake & Scull Engineering.

“We are well established in key markets like UAE, KSA, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Oman, and have improved our market share in Jordan, India, Algeria and South East Asia.”

“We will pursue data centre, rail, district cooling and other essential projects in the future and establish our presence as the leader in the regional engineering industry.” he adds.


$540m value of contracts won in last 16 months

Habtoor Leighton Specon (HLS) has had another productive year, with the company’s total project value rising by $408m (AED 1.5bn) in the period.

Work in hand (including JVs) now totals $925.6m (AED 3.4bn) spread across the region. HLS began operations in KSA last year with the launch of Specon Saudi, while it also broke into the Oman market with the Saraya Bandar Jissah Hotel 2 project.

Managing director Thrasos Thrasyvoulou says: “These are very exciting times for HLS. The recent project awards take the value of our awarded contracts in the last 16 months to over $540m (AED2bn), solidifying our position as one of the leading MEP players in the region.

“We expect this to continue and to grow, with our core market of Dubai picking up again after the economic downturn and the medium and long term plans of Abu Dhabi, Qatar, KSA and Oman for investments in infrastructure, hospitality and healthcare projects,” he adds.

“We also plan to expand by securing significant work in the rail/ metro sector through strategic alliances and JVs, and become a market leader in the field of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) as an EPC contractor.”

With a workforce of around 650 staff and more than 5,000 tradesmen, HLS completed two major projects in the last year, Doha City Centre Phase III in Qatar and The Buildings by Daman in Dubai.

New awards include works at The Louvre, Abu Dhabi; Habtoor City Phase A, Dubai; Saraya Bandar Jissah Hotel #2, Oman; Hub Zero Family Entertainment Centre, Dubai; and central utility buildings 1 & 2, East Midfield Perimeter Roads at the new Abu Dhabi Airport.

Thrasyvoulou added: “We aim to see HLS being established as the leading diversified international MEP, energy and power contractor in the MENA region, achieving a 25% top-line growth per annum and delivering increased value to our shareholders.”

Al-Futtaim Engineering

$408m value of contracts won in last year

Al-Futtaim Engineering says it has booked over $408m (AED 1.5bn) worth of MEP projects in the last year across its three main operative markets in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Among three other major projects secured were Avenue Mall in Dubai, a district cooling plant in Doha Festival City, and work on the Jabal Omar Development Phase 4 in Makkah.

In 2013, the MEP division says that it experienced growth in line with the wider Al Futtaim Engineering group, which posted a 10% increase in turnover for the period. Figures for the first half of 2014 are said to show an even faster rate of growth with a 30% increase in turnover against 2013 H1.

“There is a greater understanding within the developer-contracting ecosystem of the MEP trade,” S.S. Murali, acting managing director says. “From 2008 till date, there have been challenges across the industry with many big names not being able to deliver on projects. The Al-Futtaim brand name has helped us during this challenging period and is recognised in the market as being reliable both from quality and delivery perspective as well as


$270m value of current order book

Maintaining its standing as a truly international player, Voltas has been busy securing work around the GCC and beyond.

The last year has seen contract awards in Oman, UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Voltas has secured work on the five-star Kempinski Hotel in Oman, the Dubai World Trade Center District redevelopment, Qatar Handball Association Complex Stadium, Doha Workers Hospital, and AKH Tower in Dammam.

Voltas says that these, combined with orders from its subsidiaries and joint ventures, have resulted in an order book in the region of $270m (AED 1bn).

The firm has also relocated its regional headquarters from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, while keeping an office in the UAE capital.

“With the GCC markets showing a pulse of improvement we’re seeing a good momentum apart from just financial performance,” says Gavin Appleby, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Voltas International Operations.

“However, that being said, tomorrow brings a challenge: to build upon the strengths, skills and the knowledge base that we’ve developed through these three decades in the Gulf and the 36 countries we’ve executed projects in. The resources, the reputation, and the recognition of the nine awards we’ve won – such as three consecutive victories as MEP Middle East Contractor of the Year – clearly make us a contractor of choice,” he adds.


Trans Gulf

$272m value of contracts won in last year

An eventful twelve months for Trans Gulf Electro-Mechanical saw it amal gamated under the Al Naboodah MEP & Engineering Group umbrella with Al Naboodah MEP, Al Naboodah Engineering, and Al Naboodah Specialist Services.

The company said that this was to achieve greater synergies between the individual companies and provide a wider coverage within the market.

Perhaps an indication of the move’s effectiveness, Trans Gulf has gone about securing around $272m (AED 1bn) of work in the last year or so.

The company subsequently saw turnover rise to $119m (AED 437m) in 2013, an increase of 13.5%.

Notable wins included District Cooling Plant 2 at Dubai’s Business Bay, Msheireb Downtown Doha Phase 4, and Doha Port Project.

Apart from considering plans for expansion into the GCC territories of Oman and Kuwait, Trans Gulf is also pursuing opportunities in facilities management, solar, BIM and green building.

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