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2017 Construction Week Power 100: 21-30

Construction Week’s annual ranking of the most influential people in the Middle East’s construction industry.

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21. HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, founder and chairman, KBW Investments

Despite having only established his portfolio group, KBW Investments, four years ago, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal has already started to set out long-term growth strategies for the conglomerate. Investment in human capital forms a major part of his vision.

“As a fairly young company, we’ve now taken measures to institute a better human capital schema,” said Prince Khaled. “The larger the company gets, the more we feel that building our human capital segment is integral to a smooth, productive, and pleasant workplace. We invest in sending our people with potential to relevant training, and we encourage participation in relevant industry events.”

Prince Khaled, who is also the chairman of the Saudi Green Building Forum’s (SGBF) trustee board, told Construction Week that he intends to cultivate “impact-driven businesses”, which will benefit communities on a grand scale.

“I have gradually moved towards impact-driven businesses, meaning start-ups with social good as a core element,” he explained.

“With our Jordan portfolio, for example, we have committed – as part of the overall solar photovoltaic (PV) and light-emitting diode (LED) implementation initiatives – to provide power to 12,000 homes of Amman’s lower-income residents. This impact investment represents a win-win scenario for the constituents, the respective governmental bodies, and for KBW, as the project driver.”

Prince Khaled is also making his presence felt in the UAE’s property sector with Nasma Residences. The Sharjah project is being developed by Arada, an enterprise formed jointly by KBW and Basma Group.

“Nasma Residences is a [development] valued at $408m (AED1.5bn), with several large-scale projects to follow in the UAE and further afield,” said Prince Khaled.

KBW’s other business units are reportedly exhibiting solid performances as well. “KBEC, our mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) endeavour, recently landed a large-scale contract for one of the [UAE’s] premier developers,” Prince Khaled noted, adding: “Our real shining star this year, in the specialty sub-contractor [segment], is TTM’s Australian arm, [which has secured] a substantial portfolio of 30 concurrent projects in the past 12 months.”

22. Hussain Sajwani, founder and chairman, Damac Properties

The first quarter of 2017 was a productive one for Damac Properties, with the company reporting that its booked sales hit $600m (AED2.2bn), reflecting an 11% increase over Q1 2016 figures and a 29% increase over Q4 2016. 

“We generated revenues of $530m (AED1.9bn), with a gross profit of $288m (AED1.1bn) at a 54% gross profit margin,” said Hussain Sajwani, founder and chairman of Damac Properties. “We recorded a net profit of $240m (AED880m) at a margin of 45%. Our total equity was up 7%, to $3.7bn (AED13.5bn).”

Q1 2017 also saw the UAE-headquartered developer, founded by Sajwani in 2002, deliver 550 units in Damac Hills, a number that Damac said represented 20% of the company’s full-year guidance of 2,800 units.

Other than Damac Hills, the developer has 13 in-progress projects, including Damac Towers by Paramount, Tower 108, and Paramount Tower Hotel & Residences Dubai, as well as Akoya Oxygen, its second master development, and Aykon City. The latter, which is located on Sheikh Zayed Road and overlooks Dubai Canal, is a six-tower development. 

Damac also has eight projects in Dubai that are in the planning stages. They include Central Square, Madison Residences II, Cultural Village, and Plots 1 and 2 of Jumeirah Village.

According to the company, its development portfolio consists of more than 44,000 units at various stages of progress and planning, comprising more than 13,000 hotel rooms, serviced apartments, and hotel villas, which will be managed by its hospitality arm, Damac Hotels & Resorts.

Speaking about the opportunities that exist in the market for Damac, Sajwani said: “We aim to build a stable recurring income stream over medium term, which could comprise residential and retail space in our master developments, and a pool of residential units that could be put under a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for generating rental income, as well as income from hospitality division and commercial leasing.” 

He added: “We continue to look for opportunities to replenish our land bank, in Dubai mainly.”

23. David Welch, president for international and government affairs, Bechtel

David Welch, the president for international and government affairs at Bechtel, and his colleagues, are having a busy year in the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia. The engineering, procurement, and construction company was awarded, in February, a contract to set up and operate the National Project Management Organization (NPMO), which will support Saudi government agencies in their delivery of infrastructure projects in line with Vision 2030.

Bechtel is also working on Lines 1 and 2 of the Riyadh Metro Project, and recently launched a graduate training programme with the aim of training and hiring as many as 75 students from the Riyadh College of Technology.

The company has worked on significant infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia, including the King Fahd and King Khalid airports, and the Ras Al Khair aluminium smelter.

24. Osama Bishai, CEO, Orascom Construction

Orascom’s chief executive officer, Osama Bishai, has been with the company since 1985, and is credited with playing a key role in the development of its construction business. At present, he is spearheading the Egypt-headquartered contractor’s efforts to create a long-term concessions portfolio.

In May, Orascom reported that its revenues in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for Q1 2017 registered a 15.1% rise, to $594.8m, compared to Q1 2016 figures, which stood at $516.6m.

In a statement, the company said: “Orascom continues to expand its presence in key infrastructure segments in Egypt, adding approximately $224m of new awards to the backlog in Q1 2017.

“In other MENA markets, Orascom continues to study new infrastructure and industrial opportunities. The group is particularly pursuing further projects in the UAE, in partnership with Besix.”

25. Ahmad Abdelrazaq, executive vice president, Samsung C&T

South Korea-headquartered contracting company, Samsung C&T, generated around $25bn in revenues during the 2016 financial year, of which around $123m was recorded as profit.

As the company’s executive vice president, and having been with Samsung C&T for nearly 15 years, Ahmad Abdelrazaq has been an integral part of many of the company’s projects across the globe, including Burj Khalifa, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Tadawal and Al Rajhi Bank in Riyadh, and the Petronas Towers in Malysia.

Set to be added to this list are the 62 projects the company currently has under construction around the world, with a combined value of $25.8bn. These projects are spread across different sectors, such as healthcare, aviation, and hospitality. 

Samsung C&T is also involved in the construction of civil infrastructure projects, marine structures, and energy facilities, such as nuclear power plants, oil and gas stations, and energy storage and transportation.

26. William Haddad, chairman and founder, MACE

Since its inception in 1968, Mechanical and Civil Engineering (MACE) Contractors has identified “service to humanity” as its company motto, with its application said to be evident in the company’s approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR).

According to the company, its founder and chairman, William Haddad, regards CSR as “fundamental to a sustainable business” and believes that “strong communities support strong organisations, and vice versa”. 

“As a local organisation, we look for strategies that have global relevance. Therefore, we aim to work on projects that ultimately serve the wider community, bringing about improved standards of living,” said Haddad.

Between June 2016 and May 2017, the company completed several projects in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, including construction works associated with Phase 3 of the rehabilitation and replacement of existing sewer lines in Abu Dhabi, and construction works for Phase 2 of the replacement and enhancement of septic tanks in Al Ain.

The next 12 months will see MACE – which identifies the UAE and Oman as its two most important markets in the Middle East – continuing to focus its attention on projects in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. 

In the UAE capital, it will be implementing residual civil and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) works for Phase 1 of the KIZAD infrastructure, and the supply and installation of sector measuring points in the eastern region of the emirate, a project it will be undertaking for the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC). 

In Al Ain, MACE will be supplying and installing new meters for domestic water connections, as well as implementing connection pipeline replacements, meter replacements, and modification works, for Al Ain Distribution Company (AADC).

The coming months will also see MACE looking to partner with international companies interested in entering the GCC market; further developing and enhancing internal resources; implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) across the company; and acquiring an international oil and gas company that also specialises in operations and maintenance (O&M).

27. Imad Gholmieh, president and CEO, Nesma & Partners

Climbing nine spots on the list, from 36 in 2016 to 27 this year, is the president and chief executive officer of Nesma & Partners, Imad Gholmieh.

Under Gholmieh’s leadership, the Saudi Arabian firm recorded $1.1bn (SAR4bn) in revenues in 2016, and – as of 31 December, 2016 – had a remaining contract backlog of approximately $4.4bn (SAR16.5bn).

The company, which expects its revenues for 2017 to hit $1.47bn (SAR5.5bn), has three major projects lined up for the next 12 months, one involving the King Abdul Aziz Road (KAAR) development. For that project, the company’s scope of work includes design, construction, testing, and commissioning of infrastructure works. 

Nesma has also been brought on board by Saudi Arabia National Guard Health Affairs (SANGHA) for its hospital projects in Riyadh, Jeddah, Al Taif, and Al Qassim. Its scope of work covers the construction of five specialised hospitals, including a 300-bed maternity hospital, a 176-bed neuroscience and trauma care centre, and a 350-bed children’s hospital. 

Moreover, the firm will be handling the design and implementation of Riyadh Metro’s Package 2, which comprises Line 3, or the Red Line. According to Nesma, the contract covers civil works on a 40.7km alignment, including 22 stations, electrical and mechanical equipment, and rolling stock. Nesma is responsible for the construction of all of Package 2’s underground stations, as well as all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP), and finishing works for above-ground stations. 

Despite recognising that challenges like delayed payments are present in the market, Gholmieh and his team are cognisant of existing opportunities, especially in its four biggest markets: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Oman. One such opportunity is the King Salman International Complex for Maritime Industries and Services project in Ras Al-Khair.

28. Fakher Al Shawaf, CEO, Al Bawani

Low liquidity, delayed payments, and an overall challenging market may be a reality for a number of construction firms operating in Saudi Arabia, but Fakher Al Shawaf remains positive about Al Bawani’s foothold in the country.

The chief executive officer of the Riyadh-headquartered, 100% Saudi-owned and managed construction company, noted that Al Bawani continues to recruit workers every month, having secured contracts worth $933.3m (SAR3.5bn) in 2016.

Moreover, last year saw the company complete the enabling and structural packages for Cayan Group’s 14-storey CMC Tower. The group’s portfolio also includes King Abdullah Financial District Museum, a project being developed by Al Raidah Investment Company; and the King Abdulla Center for Cancer and Liver Disease, by King Faisal Hospital and Research Center. 

For the latter, Al Bawani’s scope of work covers the preparation of the shop drawing, the procurement and delivery of construction materials, and the testing and commissioning of the project. 

Al Bawani is also carrying out works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Riyadh, a project that is nearing the 90% completion mark. According to the company, its scope of work includes quality finishing, facade works, and extensive landscaping.

The new ministry building will reportedly comprise an auditorium, lecture halls, a library, classrooms, and a hall for visa applicants, among other features. The building is also expected to be able to accommodate a number of shared facilities, such as a cafeteria and prayer rooms.

29. Talal Moafaq Al Gaddah, CEO, MAG Property Development

The property arm of MAG Group, MAG Property Development (MAG PD), has high expectations for fiscal year 2017.

Talal Moafaq Al Gaddah’s UAE-based firm is expecting its revenues for the year to hit the $544.5m (AED2bn) mark by 31 December – more than double its performance in 2016, which stood at $136.1m (AED500m). 

This optimistic outlook is backed by the several projects MAG PD currently has in development, including MAG 5 Boulevard in Dubai South; MAG 230, which is adjacent to IMG World of Adventure; MAG 318 in Business Bay; MBL Residences in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT); MAG of Life Creek Resort in Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC); and Meydan District 7. 

Singling out its Meydan project as the one that promises the biggest opportunities for the company, Al Gaddah commented: “A huge opportunity is our development of 4,000 units and 1,000 townhouses in Meydan – an area that is growing in popularity thanks to its proximity to key destinations, landmarks, and attractions, including City Of Arabia, Business Bay, Downtown Dubai, Dubai Healthcare City, and the Meydan racecourse.”

Al Gaddah, chief executive officer of MAG PD, also noted that the company, which considers the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait as its most important markets in the region, is working towards developing projects that meet the requirements of both the mid-range and high-end sectors. 

To strengthen its presence in the Middle East, MAG provides in-house training for its 2,000 employees, Al Gaddah said, adding that the company also undertakes corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in the areas of education, development, and philanthropy. 

30. Derek Lewis, director of construction, Al-Futtaim Carillion

The past year has been a busy one for Derek Lewis and Al-Futtaim Carillion (AFC). The company’s director of construction and his team completed a number of projects, including Phase 4 of Madinat Jumeirah Resort  in Dubai and Four Seasons Hotel at Al Maryah Island, in Abu Dhabi.

In the next 12 months, the company will be carrying out main contractor duties for W Hotel & Residences on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, the new Hard Rock Hotel in Abu Dhabi, and the Shaheen Alumina Refinery, also in Abu Dhabi, among other projects. 

AFC was also chosen as the main contractor for a $600m (AED2.2bn) Dubai Expo 2020 project. The contract includes the development of three districts that will house 136 pavilions, which will be used by participating countries, non-governmental organisations, and commercial partners.

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