CW Awards 2016: Five minutes with Bishoy Azmy
Bishoy Azmy, Chief Executive Officer, ASGC, Gold Sponsor of the Construction Week Awards 2016, offers his assessment of the Middle East’s contemporary construction landscape
How would you assess the Middle East’s construction sector at present?
ASGC has been UAE (and Egypt) focussed since its inception, therefore we prefer to limit our comments to the UAE’s construction sector, where we are witnessing a significant upswing in project announcements, and releases, compared to the previous 2-3 years. Much of this improvement is coming from Dubai, and is being propelled by the Emirate’s continuous drive to promote and establish Dubai as a key tourist destination in the region. Furthermore, we feel that investor confidence and improved cash flows amongst private major developers, have also encouraged these developers to press ahead with project plans and market releases, adding to the strong activity coming from the government and quasi-government sectors.
What would you say are the main challenges currently facing our region’s construction community?
Project funding remains a major challenge, given the increase in construction costs, coupled with a cautious approach to real estate projects, adopted by most investors and financial institutions. Another major challenge for Contractors lies in the ability to earn healthy profit margins, in an industry that is known to be a low-margin industry.
What do you believe are the biggest opportunities within our industry at present?
In the coming few years, top-tier contractors, who are efficient and vertically integrated, will capitalise on opportunities from planned projects that require massive in-house resources, with preference going to major Contractors that can secure an efficient and competitive supply chain of construction materials and services. In other words...procurement excellence will be a key success factor. ASGC is a good example of a vertically integrated business, where we provide MEP construction services, in addition to other main materials such as pre-cast, steel, Ready Mix Beton and joinery through our various factories.
What trends do you expect to arise within the Middle East’s construction sector during the next 12 months?
We expect to see an increase in construction costs due to higher material cost and increased demand. We also believe that contractors will be investing more in utilising innovative technology in construction.
What will be the main priorities for your business during the coming year?
Our priorities are winning jobs in a variety of sectors which serve our diversification strategy, in addition to our continuous priority of successfully handing over an array of iconic projects that are scheduled for completion in the coming year.