Five minutes with David Hutton, Aecom Oman
David Hutton, Project Director – Aecom Oman, said aside from Duqm, the company is focused on hospitality and healthcare, which he believes will be big for the Sultanate in the future
How was business for Aecom in Oman during 2015?
Bearing in mind that Aecom is still establishing its business in Oman from a multi-disciplinary point of view, it wasn’t a bad year. It was a little bit quiet; opportunities did slow down, but overall, I’d say it was good. More opportunities started to arise towards the end of 2015, and they are aligned with our growth strategy for the country. It’s just a matter of taking advantage of those opportunities.
How has business in Oman been for AECOM so far in 2016?
Similar to the end of 2015, there have been some good opportunities coming out to price during the first quarter. It’s just that there isn’t a great deal of clarity in the market. I hear the same thing from other people in the industry; bids are going in but the awards aren’t coming out. It’s a matter of prioritisation, I guess.
What are your main focuses?
We’ve been working on the hot spots. In Duqm, for example, there is a lot of work coming out. Some of it’s design and build (D&B), and some of it’s front-end engineering design (FEED) – although we haven’t had a lot to price on the FEED side of things. Then there are the fundamentals; traditional consultancy services. Again, this work is in line with government strategy, but it’s not clear when it will come out and whether it will proceed in its current form.
Aside from Duqm, we are focused on healthcare; I’m sure that’s going to be big for Oman in the future. Again, it’s not just something that is going to come up in 2016, but in year’s to come, there’s no doubt. Then, of course, there’s hospitality.
Can you use the current period as breathing space to take a step back and identify longer-term opportunities?
We can, but Aecom also has a business commitment to grow. We have to deliver from our internal business point of view. Yes, this is an opportunity to take a higher-level view of longer-term projects, but at the same time, the Omani market is fairly loyal to the existing consultants and contractors. It’s possible, therefore, that Aecom is at a slight disadvantage because we still have to prove ourselves in Oman.
What are Aecom’s strategic priorities for Oman?
Aecom’s strategy – and not just in Oman – is to deliver internally. We’re committed to growing in the Sultanate; there’s no question about that.