2018 Construction Week Power 100: 51-60
Construction Week’s annual ranking of the Middle East’s most influential construction leaders
51. Rizwan Sajan, Danube Group
The founder and chairman of Danube Group, Rizwan Sajan, returns to the Construction Week Power 100 list, thanks to the incredible year of delivery his company has had. In March, the number of Danube projects in Dubai climbed into double digits, following the launch of the $81.7m (AED300m) Jewelz in Arjan, its 10th residential project in the emirate.
The group also completed the handover of its $95.3m (AED350m) Glitz 3 apartment block, one of four projects the company expects to deliver this year. Since Danube entered the real-estate business in 2014, the firm has delivered 827 units worth $334m (AED1.2bn).
Due to steady acceleration in the market, its subsidiary, Danube Home, opened its largest-ever showroom in May. This 6,967m² store in Abu Dhabi features more than 200 parking spaces and has approximately 30,000 home-furnishing and home-improvement products. Danube Group saw its full-year sales revenue for 2017 climb to $233m (AED820m).
52. Saeed Al Qatami, Deyaar Development
UAE-based Deyaar Development has completed one of its flagship properties, the Mont Rose residential towers, having started the handover process for the two towers in April. Located in Dubai Science Park, the Mont Rose is a mixed-use project that comprises two residential and one hotel-apartment towers. The Millennium Deyaar Mont Rose Apartments will be managed by the Millennium & Copthorne hotel company and is expected to begin operations in September.
In 2017, the project developer’s revenue was $204.6m (AED751.5m) and, as of 31 December, 2017, project and property development revenue stood at $168.3m (AED618.2m), with property management revenue at $11.4m (AED42m). Deyaar’s revenue from facilities management and association management was $14.7m (AED54m), and $10.4m (AED38.3m) in revenue was generated from leasing.
This year, Deyaar is undergoing a digital transformation, according to chief executive officer Saeed Al Qatami. “As part of this strategy, Deyaar has decided to move completely into cloud-based solutions by 2021,” he explains. “We are now taking steps to ‘hybridise’ the infrastructure and move the entire production workload onto the cloud.”
53. Rahail Aslam, Select Group
Group chief executive officer of Select Group, Rahail Aslam, and his team, are responsible for projects such as Dubai’s Marina Gate I and No.9 Dubai Marina. The former, a 51-floor development with 399 residential units, was completed in the first quarter of 2018, while the latter, a 34-floor waterfront tower with 220 apartments, is currently undergoing finishing works. Marina Gate I offers a range of amenities, such as an infinity-edge pool, a gymnasium overlooking the marina, squash and tennis courts, and a 24-hour concierge service.
Select Group focuses on four main verticals – development, investment, hospitality, and retail, and the multidisciplinary real-estate company reported revenue of $400m (AED1.5bn) in the 2017 fiscal year. This figure is expected to reach $500m (AED1.8bn) this year, Aslam adds.
“Select Group continues to move ahead at full steam,” he tells Construction Week. “Development remains the core of the business, and the group has recently acquired a prime waterfront land bank for a unique community development in the heart of Business Bay. This 315,000m² acquisition has secured Select Group’s development pipeline for the next seven years.”
The masterplan for the new mixed-use mega-development in a waterfront location in Business Bay incorporates both high- and low-rise residential, office, retail, leisure, and hospitality elements. Extensive concept and design works are ongoing, and the launch of the project is anticipated by the end of 2018.
Select Group’s 14th residential development in Dubai Marina, Studio One, is also currently under way, with the 31-floor, 400-unit development scheduled for completion in Q2 2019. The third and final tower in the group’s Jumeirah Living Marina Gate project is also scheduled to be completed in 2019. It will feature 104 serviced apartments, 389 private residences, and 15 villas.
54. Simon Karam, Sarooj Construction Company
Sarooj Construction Company’s (SCC) director, Simon Karam, has his feet firmly on the ground, and refuses to get carried away or complacent in what continues to be a challenging local, regional, and global economic climate. Since its formation back in 1973, SCC has become one of the top construction companies in Oman, and the director is confident that the firm will be able to record further growth and expansion in the years to come.
“While we recognise the hard work that has created robust returns for the company, special care must be taken to mitigate profit erosion from increased fuel prices, new taxes, and ever-growing bank charges and financing costs,” he told Construction Week in March.
“SCC believes that [growth] can only be driven by the right investment and the nurturing of human capital, which in turn develops the caring and responsible relationships that our clients have come to expect from us in order to entrust their work to us.”
With a diverse portfolio comprising marine, transportation, oil and gas, general civil, earthworks, dams, and infrastructure services, the company boasts an annual turnover of about $140m (OMR54m), with a strong order book value of about $250m (OMR96.2m). This includes work with key Omani clients such as Oman International Container Terminal Company – to deliver the third phase of civil; buildings; and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing works for its Sohar Industrial Port yards – and British Petroleum, for which SCC will deliver rig locations and access roads for Phase 2 of the Khazzan megaproject. SCC is also working on Phase 3 of the Bauer Nimr Oman wetland project.
Karam said SCC was on track to become “a prime player in the local market, and the preferred regional strategic partner for international engineering, procurement, and construction contractors that work on large petrochemical projects, power and desalination plants, and oil and gas facilities”.
55. David Evans, Al Naboodah Construction Group
Another new entry to the Power 100 ranking for 2018 is the chief executive officer of Al Naboodah Construction Group (ANCG), David Evans.
Formerly the global major projects director at Honeywell Building Solutions, Evans only joined ANCG in February 2018. He does, however, have prior experience with the business, and served as an operations manager on a 12-month Dubai project in 2014.
ANCG, a subsidiary of Al Naboodah Group Enterprises, was formed in the 1960s, several years before the unification of the UAE in 1971. Since its inception, it has grown into a prominent international business that today employs more than 14,000 people. It also has the added advantage of being self-sufficient in many materials and supplies its own asphalt, concrete, and machinery.
ANCG’s businesses have taken on civil engineering; mechanical, electrical, and plumping; and building projects for clients including government departments, as well as major developers and contractors.
The company has been behind many of the UAE’s notable road, bridge, and tunnel projects, which have significantly improved the public infrastructure in – and between – the seven emirates.
The company’s major completed projects include the Phase 2 expansion of Dubai International Airport (DXB), which saw ANCG build Concourse 3, a partially underground structure that also extends above ground under a metal shell. This can accommodate up to 20 aircraft stands – 18 of which can accommodate the Airbus 380. This was the single largest contract ANCG had won at the time, and the project was completed in April 2010.
Four years later, ANCG won another contract from the same client, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, to refurbish two runways and build new taxiways at DXB.
56. Alain Bejjani, Majid Al Futtaim Group
The chief executive officer of Majid Al Futtaim Group, Alain Bejjani, is driving a group-wide strategy to enhance the firm’s technological footprint and make it one of the most sustainable operations in the Gulf.
These ambitions for digital and environmental excellence have been backed up by strong financial results, with Majid Al Futtaim’s $8.7bn (AED32.2bn) revenue for 2017 rising by 8% year-on-year.
To maintain its long-term and sustainable growth strategy, a $3.8bn (AED14bn) mixed-use community near Dubai Sports City, Tilal Al Ghaf, was launched in April. The 3km2 site is the group’s flagship project and will be developed in phases over the course of a decade. It will feature 6,500 freehold apartments, townhouses, bungalows, luxury villas, and a 70,000m2 artificial lagoon. Elsewhere in the UAE, Majid Al Futtaim opened an $18.6m (AED68.5m) mall in Ras Al Khaimah, and broke ground on a $92.6m (AED340m) shopping centre in Abu Dhabi.
57. Rajesh Kumar, Beaver Gulf
The Dubai-based, turn-key contractor Beaver Gulf has in-house divisions that specialise in civil construction, electromechanical, air-conditioning, structural steel, aluminium and glazing, joinery and interiors, precast concrete products, painting, and waterproofing. In his decade-long tenure as chairman and chief executive officer, Rajesh Kumar Krishna has been instrumental in establishing Beaver Gulf as one of the region’s leading providers of services for multimillion-dollar projects.
In the past 12 months, Beaver Gulf has acted as the main contractor on developments including the 750-acre Town Square Dubai neighbourhood by developer Nshama, which is located near Al Maktoum International Airport and the Expo 2020 Dubai site. Beaver was responsible for the construction of 314 Safi townhouses and 730 Hayat townhouses for the project.
Among the company’s other recently completed projects are the 1B+G+7 Al Ghurair residential building for Al Ghurair Real Estate, the 2B+G+M+13 Citymax Hotel Ras Al Khaimah for Landmark Group, and four ENOC filling stations.
The coming months will see Beaver continue its work on the Town Square Dubai development with the construction of 764 Noor townhouses and 322 Naseem townhouses. Work is also ongoing for Omran Dubai Properties on the Arbella 3 townhouses, the third development within the Mudon community in Dubailand. This is in addition to the construction of 130 Zafran townhouses at Jumeirah Golf Estates, and further Al Ghurair buildings in areas such as Al Muteena and Hor Al Anz.
Beaver currently employs more than 12,700 workers, and recorded $175m (AED642.8m) in revenues between 1 February, 2017, and 31 January, 2018. Current fiscal year projections are set at $260m (AED955m) – a rise of approximately $85m (AED312.2m).
Technology is a key focus for the company this year. Commenting on the technology programmes that are currently in the pipeline at Beaver, Krishna says: “This year we are working towards enhancing our enterprise resource planning systems so that all group companies are integrated and automated to a large extent.
“This will reduce the possibility of inaccuracies and will bring more control to the inspection and assessment element of our business,” he adds.
Krishna lists the acquisition of Beaver Gulf Precast Concrete – formerly known as Mammut Technocrete – as a significant opportunity for the group to expand its remit across its key markets, which include the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, recruitment is among the major challenges that he expects regional contractors will have to contend with this year. “During peak work periods, finding people with the right skills and competencies is a challenge we cannot ignore,” Krishna tells Construction Week.
“The lack of skilled workers and the narrow talent pipeline have added extra hurdles, time, and costs to many projects,” he continues.
“Unlike its predecessors, the new generation is not looking for careers in the construction sector, which will continue to cause issues as we seek to meet growing demand for talent in the industry.”
In addition to his role at Beaver Gulf, Krishna is an avid promoter of the contracting sector in Dubai, and has previously spoken at key industry events such as the Construction Week Leaders in Construction: UAE conference. He has also been a member of the judging panel for the Construction Week Awards.
58. Abie Musa, MVL
MVL’s chief executive officer, Abie Musa, lists Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Kuwait as the company’s three most important Middle Eastern markets. The Dubai-based company is projecting revenues of $320m (AED1.2bn) in 2018.
As a construction and supply-chain management company, MVL concentrates on the Middle East and North Africa markets. Its various corporate activities include oil and gas, defence contracting, and its fire-stopping business. Providing services to companies within the defence, construction, and engineering industries, MVL’s construction management aims to help clients exceed industry standards and improve performance.
“As a prime contractor, MVL completed the Marshal Fahim Defence University, a US government project in Afghanistan,” Musa tells Construction Week, adding that the firm has also delivered numerous fire protection projects in the UAE.
When asked what he expects will prove to be the biggest opportunity for MVL in the coming year, Musa cites “Saudi Arabian multi-award, long-term projects for US government military civil construction work”.
In January, MVL was awarded a $200m (AED734.6m) contract by the US government, covering the United States Agency for International Development’s programmes in Nepal. The firm will repair damage caused by earthquakes to key public infrastructure in the country, such as schools and healthcare facilities.
MVL was also recently awarded “a US Department of State embassy elevator project in Afghanistan”, as well as a “$49m (AED180m) long-term contract in Kuwait” and a “$25m (AED91.8m) female police officer training facility in Afghanistan”, according to Musa.
59. Dr J Gangaramani, Al Fara’a General Contracting
As president and chief executive officer of Al Fara’a General Contracting, Dr Jawaharlal Gangaramani has been front and centre as the firm increases its technological capabilities. The Abu Dhabi-based contractor has invested in new technologies and integrated smarter digital systems into its operations, which span the GCC. Also, amid stiff competition, Al Fara’a has increased its sustainable construction practices.
With operations in Oman, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, the company has a workforce of approximately 18,000 staff. The firm is a contractor of choice for the UAE government, and has previously worked with the Department of Presidential Affairs, and the General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowments. Its projects include the Phase 8 expansion of Wafi Mall in Dubai.
60. Moustafa Fahour, Bic Contracting
Moustafa Fahour OAM is the chief executive officer and managing director of BIC Contracting (BICC), a dominant force in the regional construction sector. This May, the contractor, formerly known as HLG Contracting, rebranded as BICC, a name that it said signified “its ongoing strength and commitment in building and infrastructure construction across the Middle East”. In a statement, OAM said the new name stood for the company’s “core strength”, adding: “Refreshing our focus reflects our commitment to delivering strong outcomes for our clients and safe working environments for our people, as we look for opportunities that leverage our extensive track record.”