Five minutes with Marco Malpiedi, Atkins Oman
Marco Malpiedi, Managing Director – Atkins Oman, said tourism - both directly and indirectly - is the main focus for the firm's long-term opportunities in the Sultanate
How was business for atkins in Oman during 2015?
Atkins performed well in Oman last year. We saw that the market was dipping so we restructured our office. This enabled us to be a lot more agile. At the same time, we took the opportunity to streamline our operations, working to get higher-value and more efficient people involved. Although our overall turnover fell slightly in 2015 – nothing major, probably 5% – our profit margins actually increased and we maintained a very healthy bank balance.
How has business in Oman been for Atkins so far in 2016?
Things are going well. However, Oman’s economic situation is becoming gloomier. Income continues to reduce whilst outgoing costs remain the same or even higher. I’m relatively confident about the future but you can’t take your eye off the ball for one second.
What are the main challenges?
Our pipeline is probably the healthiest it’s ever been, but at the same time, some projects seem to have gestation periods longer than that of your average elephant.
What are Atkins’ longer-term opportunities In Oman?
They’re largely related to tourism, both directly and indirectly. Obviously, there are hotels and leisure projects, but coupled with that, we are seeing more residential developments with additional facilities included. Then there are the commercial opportunities such as shopping complexes. We see investors coming in looking to connect with the country’s more affluent residents. However, I think that the majority of longer-term opportunities are generally related to tourism in one way or another.
What are Atkins’ strategic priorities for Oman?
We need to highlight the fact that our services are a cut above, and this isn’t just advertising hyperbole. For instance, we implement building information modelling (BIM) in all of our activities. It’s not just about delivering higher quality projects for clients; it’s also about providing greater flexibility in their designs. Our approach means that clients can see exactly what’s going on from the earliest stages, and make adjustments wherever necessary.
In addition, we will continue to develop our Omani employees, who are extremely capable. These guys are in the market, they know what’s going on, and if we can integrate the best Omanis into our organisation, it’s a double win for Atkins.