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2017 Construction Week Power 100: Top five conglomerates

Which conglomerates are highest-ranked on Construction Week's 2017 Power 100?

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1. HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, founder and chairman, KBW Investments (Power 100 ranking: 21)

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.”

2. Ibrahim Saeed Lootah, chairman, Lootah Group of Companies (Power 100 ranking: 42)

Ibrahim Saeed Lootah’s involvement in the UAE’s construction sector is not limited to his role as chairman of the Lootah Group of Companies. He also works with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) as a committee member of its Building and Civil Construction Group.

Under the Lootah Group umbrella, Lootah Building and Construction (LBC) has completed infrastructure and large-scale developments for both the public and private sectors. Its project portfolio includes the palace for Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum, located in Djibouti, for which it was awarded a contract worth $24.4m (AED89.6m).

One of its ongoing projects is a Lulu Hypermarket being built in Sharjah, valued at $115m (AED422.4m).

3. Abdallah Hasan Yabroudi, CEO, DCC Group (Power 100 ranking: 43)

Having served as the chief executive officer of DCC Group for nearly 15 years, Abdallah Hasan Yabroudi has vast experience in the Dubai property and construction markets. He has witnessed it go through various difficulties, including the 2008/2009 downturn, which is why he considers settling legacies from that period as one of the biggest challenges facing the industry – in addition to unfair competition.

A person who prioritises fairness, Yabroudi noted that “working with employers who will treat us fairly and pay us on time” is the single biggest opportunity for his company, which counts among its ongoing projects SRG Tower, W Hotel Amman, and Dubai Properties’s 46-storey tower, 1/JBR.

“Being risk averse, for the past few years, DCC has concentrated on its own developments,” said Yabroudi.

4. Navin Valrani, CEO, Al Shirawi Electrical & Mechanical Engineering (Power 100 ranking: 49)

As the chief executive officer of Al Shirawi Electrical & Mechanical Engineering, Navin Valrani is responsible for a workforce of 2,000 employees. The company, which offers complete building and facilities management services, completed the fit-out of the Medcare Women and Children’s Hospital in Dubai in the third quarter of last year, through its interiors business unit.

“An integral part of the group’s construction engineering discipline, Al Shirawi Interiors has differentiated itself from competitors in terms of quality, in-house manufactured wood products, and through the excellent service it offers,” said Valrani. “We remain committed to exceeding industry standards for interior works.”

5. Abie Musa, CEO, MVL (Power 100 ranking: 56)

MVL’s chief executive officer, Abie Musa, lists Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait as the company’s three most important Middle East markets. The Dubai-based company generated revenues of $148m (AED543.6m) in 2016 from its various corporate activities, including oil and gas, defence contracting, and its fire-stopping business. And it is forecasting sales of $250m (AED918.2m) in 2017, based on $2bn-worth of proposals submitted, including three major projects in Saudi, Palestine, and Kuwait for the US Army Corps of Engineers with an aggregate value of more than $600m.

Major projects over the past 12 months have included work on the Women’s College Kabul for the Afghan Ministry of Interior, and various air force base projects, ranging from fuel storage facilities to force protection systems. Other clients include the US Army and Air Force, and Dubai Civil Defence (DCD). Regarding the latter, MVL’s focus in its home city of Dubai is on its fire-stopping business, which is enjoying a “steep growth trajectory month on month” of 5% to 7%. Musa said: “We expect this business vertical to continue to feed into Dubai local construction regulatory requirements for high standards in fire prevention and protection.”

Speaking with Construction Week, Musa said that, while the stringent standards to which Dubai’s fire-stop suppliers must adhere may entail extra work for those companies, they are helping to create one of the safest built environments on the planet.

He added that MVL’s fire-stop technologies have been certified to Universal Laboratories (UL) standards. It is also one of only four companies approved by DCD to offer a full suite of fire-stopping technologies to the Dubai market. As such, MVL has already secured contracts to supply a selection of large-scale developments, including Emaar Properties’ supertall skyscraper, Marina 106.

Musa – who has been in his role for five years – leads a team of 48 qualified engineers and a labour force that ranges between 500 and 1,000 depending on project load.

In terms of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, MVL has focussed on contributing to charities and foundations that have a specific focus on children’s health and education.

 

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