2018 Construction Week Power 100: 11-20
Construction Week’s annual ranking of the Middle East’s most influential construction leaders
11. Pierre Sironval, Six Construct
Six Construct, a subsidiary of the BESIX Group, is the largest Belgian construction company operating in the GCC. The multi-services company operates in the construction of commercial and residential buildings, sport and leisure facilities, and infrastructure and marine-related projects. It currently employs a workforce of 12,000 in the Middle East, and a total of 15,000 staff worldwide.
Under the direction of managing director, Pierre Sironval – a 23-year veteran of company – Six Construct enjoyed revenues of more than $895m (AED3.3bn) in 2017. This figure is projected to grow in 2018, to reach approximately $1.1bn (AED4bn).
Last year, Six Construct completed various projects, including Safi, located in Ajman, UAE, which is the first branded water station in the world supplying recycled water for industrial and commercial applications. This was in addition to a Jumeirah private island project for Dubai Municipality, for which BESIX constructed three marinas for private yachts and leisure crafts, and 317 piles for the water villas.
Ongoing projects for the firm include the Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences in Dubai, a SsangYong–BESIX joint venture that is due for completion by April 2019; and the design and construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) jetty and other facilities at Bahrain LNG Import Terminal, which has a completion deadline of September 2018.
“The biggest challenge is to keep our organisation in line with the growth of the company, and to maintain an organisation that can cope with the growth,” says Sironval.
12. Greg Kane, WSP Middle East
Having appeared in the Construction Week Power 100 for the first time last year, Greg Kane has now been in the role of managing director of WSP Middle East for two years. The UAE is WSP’s largest operation, employing a workforce of about 900 people, and the company’s Property & Buildings team is busy working on a number of high-profile projects for Expo 2020 Dubai.
“Following our acquisitions of Mouchel and Parsons Brinckerhoff, we have an increased presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is seeing an increase in activity and is an area [in which] we want to expand and grow our business,” Kane tells Construction Week.
“The continued growth of WSP Global, both organically and through M&A (mergers and acquisitions), provides us with a great opportunity to retain and develop our talent, and to attract the best talent in the market,” Kane continues.
“This growth, and our new brand identity, are helping to differentiate us in a consolidating market that has seen some of our peers be acquired in the last 12 months.”
Looking ahead, WSP will be involved with a number of high-profile projects in the Middle East. Among these are Yas Bay, a waterfront development on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, where WSP has been named lead consultant.
There is also the 46-storey Royal Atlantis Resort on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, for which WSP has been appointed to provide all engineering services during the design phase; and Ain Dubai, also known as the Dubai Eye, the world’s largest observation wheel, for which WSP is lead consultant.
WSP was also appointed to provide owners engineer services covering the major work activities of design review, quality surveillance, and site supervision during the construction and commissioning of the Rabigh Power Plant 2, which is said to be Saudi Arabia’s largest and most environmentally friendly power plant to date.
13. Gary Adams, Parsons
President for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region at US-headquartered Parsons, Gary Adams has been in his current role for four years and is a 26-year veteran of the firm. Parsons’ MEA business unit has posted strong results in recent years, and in its 2017 financial year, the firm saw revenues of $3bn (AED11bn).
Parsons is currently working on the Dubai Creek Harbour and Dubai Metro Route 2020, as well as the Riyadh Metro, Yanbu Industrial City, and a Ministry of Housing programme in Saudi Arabia. Adams says Parsons is focused on “seven prime technologies” going forwards, including artificial intelligence, to transform into a “digitally enabled solutions firm”.
14. Hamed Zaghw, Aecom
Anew entrant in the Construction Week Power 100 last year, Hamed Zaghw took on the role of chief executive officer at Aecom Middle East in October 2016. In the past year, the company’s project portfolio has included Dubai’s Damac Heights development and Clemenceau Medical Centre; the Four Seasons, Abu Dhabi; and the King Faisal Corniche Development in Bahrain, which is part of the Avenues project in Manama.
In 2018, the multi-service consultancy reported a second-quarter revenue of $4.8bn (AED17.6bn). Moving forwards, Aecom plans to expand its capabilities in the areas of 3D printing and generative design.
15. Talal Al Dhiyebi, Aldar
Chief executive officer of Aldar Properties, Talal Al Dhiyebi, was one of the driving forces behind a landmark joint venture (JV) agreement between Aldar and Emaar that is said to have the potential to shake up the construction market.
Dhiyebi also led the charge on a number of fronts in what was another busy year for Aldar in the mergers and acquisitions space. In addition to the Emaar JV, Aldar Properties bought $1bn (AED3.7bn) of real-estate assets from the Tourism Development and Investment Company in an deal that Dhiyebi says has given Aldar an “unprecedented opportunity” to add value to its Yas Island portfolio.
16. Bakr Bin Laden, Saudi Binladin Group
Despite a tumultuous year, Saudi Binladin Group’s (SBG) chairman, Bakr Bin Laden, remains one of Middle East construction’s most influential personalities. Earlier this year, it was reported that a broad restructuring process was under way at SBG, which could see the Saudi Arabian government take a 35% stake in the company, according to a report by Reuters. The regional contracting behemoth even had to take out an emergency $2.9bn (SAR10.8bn) government loan to pay staff wages, Arabian Business reported in April.
In the wake of market and corporate challenges, Bin Laden has kept the ship relatively strong and stable, as the company continues to win new work in its home market. This includes a contract to build a palace within the massive $500bn (SAR1.9tn) Neom development in Saudi Arabia, which is touted by many as the most ambitious project in the world.
17. Khaled El Seif, El Seif Engineering
As the chairman of Saudi Arabia-based contracting firm El Seif Engineering Contracting Company, Khaled Musaed El Seif leads what is considered to be one of the largest and most efficient construction companies in the kingdom. Its core capabilities cover project management; design and build; logistics; and engineering, procurement, and construction; as well as site maintenance. The firm has put these capabilities to use on categories of regional projects including high-rise towers, military bases, oil pipelines, roads, airports, and power plants. El Seif’s pipeline includes numerous large-scale projects in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
18. Mirwais Azizi, Azizi Developments
Mirwais Azizi, founder and chairman of Azizi Developments, is among the new entrants in the 2018 Construction Week Power 100 listing. He has had an extremely productive year at the helm of the Dubai-based real-estate development company.
As of March 2018, Azizi Developments had confirmed that more than nine of its projects would be delivered ahead of schedule. This included seven serviced apartment projects in Al Furjan, worth $490m (AED1.8bn), including the Azizi Star Hotel Apartments and Azizi Farishta Serviced Apartments, which are set to be delivered in Q2 and Q3, respectively. The $212m (AED780m) Mina by Azizi on the Palm Jumeirah is also set for a Q3 2018 delivery, and then there is the sold-out Azizi Aliyah Residences in Dubai Healthcare City, valued at $128m (AED470m).
Azizi, who heads up one of Dubai’s biggest private property developers, is sitting on a pipeline of building projects worth $12bn (AED45bn). This year, the firm launched what he said would be the most ambitious construction venture in his company’s 11-year history: building the world’s fifth-tallest skyscraper. In an exclusive interview with Construction Week, Azizi said the skyscraper on Sheikh Zayed Road would enter the record books once the ambitious project was completed by its anticipated deadline of between 2021 and 2022.
The skyscraper project is expected to cost $816m (AED3bn), which includes the cost of buying the land. Revealing details of the megaproject to Construction Week this March, Azizi said: “I am looking at every square foot of this project to ensure that it finishes successfully and is delivered on time.”
While the Azizi Developments skyscraper is the firm’s most ambitious project, it is not its only project of note. The waterfront mega-development Azizi Riviera is another significant project in the company’s pipeline, valued at about $3.2bn (AED12bn). Azizi says Phases 1 and 2 of the Riviera project will be completed at the start of Q1 2019. Phases 3 and 4 will be completed in Q3 2019. Once finished, the four phases will comprise a total of 16,000 apartments. The project marks the start of the company’s urban neighbourhood projects in Meydan One, following a strategic partnership with Meydan Group, which was agreed by both firms in February 2017.
Delivering building projects ahead of schedule has become something of a forte for Azizi Developments. Last year, the founder says, was an “amazing year” for the business, which saw strong progress on a number of construction projects and completed 13 handovers.
“Our company tries to work closely with contractors and sub-contractors,” Aziz says, remarking on the secret behind the developer’s early handovers. “Our approach is to understand their problems and support them accordingly. If the company feels money is a problem, we will support it financially.”
He adds that meticulous planning, a well structured cash-flow scheme, and on-time – or even early – payments are the “order winners” of Azizi Developments’ delivery strategy. “We establish a collaborative culture in the way we engage with our contractors. Our aim is for them to share the same determination for early completion.”
19. Fakher Al-Shawaf, Al-Bawani Construction
The Saudi Arabian contracting sector has delivered mixed fortunes for local companies of late. The country’s construction industry is evolving in tandem with its national programmes that aim to diversify the economy and reduce oil dependence.
Some contractors have found the right balance for their operations, while others have not been quite as successful.
Al-Bawani Construction, led by chief executive officer, Eng Fakher Al-Shawaf, is part of the former group.
The Riyadh-headquartered company’s portfolio in the city includes projects for clients such as the kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as projects for the Financial Plaza, the new Riyadh Bank Data Centre, and Arriyadh Development Authority’s Arabsat building, which was designed by BuroHappold. Other Al-Bawani projects in the capital include Al Raidah Investment Company’s King Abdullah Financial District Museum, and the Information Technology and Communications Complex. According to tender listings website, ProTenders, Al-Bawani is also providing general, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing services for a multipurpose community hall within the billion-dollar mega-city, Neom.
Over in Jeddah, Al-Bawani’s name is part of high-profile schemes such as Midad Real Estate Development and Investment Company’s Four Seasons-branded hotel.
Recently, Al-Shawaf signed an agreement to build Saudia Cargo’s new cargo handling facility at the King Abdulaziz International Airport. According to a Saudi Gazette report, Al-Bawani will be tasked with the facility’s construction and implementation. Siemens will deliver mechanical equipment and cargo handling systems for the 75,000m2 project, while AECOM will supervise engineering works. Phase 1 of the development was reportedly due to get under way in June, with completion expected in November 2019. The project’s Phase 2 will be carried out between June 2020 and December 2021.
A veteran of the Saudi construction industry, over the years Al-Shawaf is said to have secured a reputation as an acute analyst of the kingdom’s building trends.
In May 2016, while low oil prices led to slowdowns in economies and organisations not only in the Middle East but worldwide, Al-Shawaf explained in an interview with Construction Week the need for Saudi contractors to change their business practices in order to thrive in the country’s future construction landscape. At that time, Al-Shawaf said: “Traditional contract models and client-contractor dynamics are being replaced. The country’s business model now tends towards privatisation. We are [now involved in projects] not just as contractors, but as partners of the government.”
20. HRH Prince Khaled Bin Alwaleed Bin Talal, KBW Investments
Founded in 2013, the KBW Investments conglomerate, driven by the group’s founder and chairman, Saudi Arabia’s HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, is based in Dubai and works across the Middle East in various sectors, including construction, manufacturing, engineering, project management, automation, and technology. The portfolio group has members spanning two continents, which include Raimondi Cranes, Klampfer Middle East, Klampfer Electromechanical Contracting, and Arcadia.
While KBW Investments’ operational strategy covers a broad spectrum of activities, development and construction work within the UAE and Saudi Arabia – covering various sub-contracting sectors and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing projects – is a key area of focus for the firm.
In 2017, KBW Investments jointly founded Arada with Basma Group. Arada is currently developing Sharjah’s $408m (AED1.5bn) Nasma Residences, as well as the multi-phase $6.5bn (AED24bn) Aljada megaproject.