2018 Construction Week Power 100: 81-90
Construction Week’s annual ranking of the Middle East’s most influential construction leaders
81. Steve Demetriou, Jacobs
As the chairman of what he describes as one of the world’s largest providers of construction services, with more than 60,000 workers employed across 30-plus countries, the hands of Jacobs’ Steve Demetriou are kept full. Saudi Arabia has had an important role to play here, with state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco recently having selected Jacobs to project manage the Zuluf oil and gas megaproject. Once complete, this huge project will eventually process up to 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the offshore field.
In June, Jacobs announced it had extended its Saudi portfolio by winning a three-year contract to work on Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company’s oil refinery in the kingdom. The deal covers general engineering services to ramp up production at the plants in Yanbu Industrial City, which sits on the west coast of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea.
82. Andrea Scotti, Buro Happold
Andrea Scotti joined integrated engineering consultancy BuroHappold in 2004 and worked in the company’s New York and London offices before shifting his focus to the Middle East. Scotti is now responsible for the operations of the entire region. Recent projects within Scotti’s remit have included work on high-profile developments such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the UAE. The firm’s ongoing project portfolio includes Dubai’s Museum of the Future and the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
83. Fawwaz Al-Khodari, Al-Khodari
It has been a tricky period for Saudi Arabian construction firm, Abdullah A M Al-Khodari Sons Co (Al-Khodari), which has had to contend with losses in the past 12 months. In April, the contractor revealed it had recorded a net loss of $27m (SAR101.5m) for 2017, a reduction compared to 2016’s net loss of $31.8m (SAR119.4m).
While its gross loss widened by 75% to $11.7m (SAR43.7m) in 2017, Al-Khodari recorded a 22.1% annual improvement in its operational loss for the year, which was valued at $7.4m (SAR27.5m). A “sharp decline in revenue” – which was valued at $138.5m (SAR519.5m) for 2017 – resulted in the gross loss rising by 75%.
The contractor’s revenues reduced by $144.3m (SAR541m) – a year-on-year reduction of 51% – in 2017, with the company attributing the change to a “decline in new project awards”, and the “significant liquidity challenges facing the contracting industry due to delays in payments, [as] reflected in [the] slow progress of ongoing construction projects”.
Al-Khodari said it managed to narrow its net loss with a 48% reduction in its direct costs, which was “mainly due to slow progress on ongoing construction projects”. Decreased bidding activity led the contractor to also reduce its selling and marketing costs by 31%.
However, Al-Khodari continues to boast some of Saudi Arabia’s most high-profile clients in its portfolio, including the Ministries of Higher Education, Interior, and Transport, the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, King Faisal University, and the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund.
84. Sameer A Nass, Nass The Group
Breaking into the top 100 this year is Sameer Abdulla Nass, the chairman of Manama-based contractor Nass The Group, which calls itself a “niche brand” delivering “a great impact on Bahrain’s economy”. Established in 1963, the enterprise has grown into a powerhouse in the country’s construction sector and expanded to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman. This year, the company won a number of infrastructure projects in Dubai, including a $15.4m (AED56.5m) deal for civil works on Phase 3 of K-Station at the Jebel Ali Power Station, which is operated by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority; Spain’s Duro Felguera awarded the contract to Nass.
In October 2017, Nass Corporation worked with financial institution KPMG to introduce the basic principles of value-added tax (VAT) to Nass employees, and educate them on the need for VAT compliance.
85. MD Saini, Shapoorji Pallonji
Chief executive officer of Shapoorji Pallonji International, Mohandass Saini, features for a successive year in the Construction Week Power 100 list. The Indian business leader has been with the company since 1985 and has risen through the ranks during his more than 30-year tenure.
Shapoorji Pallonji International is the international arm of Shapoorji Pallonji Engineering & Construction and has been involved in hundreds of international construction and infrastructure projects around the world, including dozens in the Middle East. The company is based in Dubai and has helped build numerous projects in the residential, commercial, industrial, healthcare, hospitality, and educational sectors. It has also had a hand in the development of a number of regional sporting arenas.
86. Steve Ramsden, ISG Middle East
Led by managing director for Southeast Asia and Middle East, Steve Ramsden, fit-out contractor ISG has had a busy 12 months. In February, the firm announced the completion of its major refurbishment project at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium, one of the oldest sports facilities in the UAE.
Fit-out projects were also carried out by ISG for the University of Birmingham Dubai, as well as for two restaurants at the city’s H Hotel, the Roxy Cinema venue in City Walk, and various corporate office projects in Dubai International Financial Centre, Emaar Business Park, and Abu Dhabi Global Market Square. Looking ahead, ISG’s portfolio includes two high-end restaurants in the W Dubai – The Palm, which is set to open in October; multiple sites for Mashreq Bank; and Federal Tax Authority Offices. Despite the liquidity and payment risks that are affecting the regional market at present, “multi-sector global experience allows ISG to access more diverse market opportunities”, Ramsden tells Construction Week.
This year, ISG will also be delivering training initiatives for its senior managers, and implementing enterprise resource planning and on-site project management software.
87. Antoine Najjar, Al Ahmadiah Group
Antoine Najjar, chief executive officer of Ahmadiah Group, once again makes the Construction Week Power 100 list, following another steady year of development in the contractor’s core market, Kuwait.
The Ahmadiah Group was established in 1954 and remains a successful regional force with a number of notable projects under its belt, including Kuwait Airport, where it restored a VIP lounge and rehabilitated the runway.
Owing much to the quality of its work and its long-standing place in the market, Ahmadiah Group is one of the preferred contractors of the Kuwait government, which has awarded the company a string of major works that has included power stations, hospitals, vast sewer networks, and even the new headquarters for the country’s Ministry of Interior.
During his tenure, Najjar has overseen this work and maintained a close relationship with senior figures in the public and private sectors to ensure the contractor wins its share of lucrative construction and engineering contracts in Kuwait.
88. Shiraz Hasan, Tech Group
Since its establishment in 2003, Tech Group has become a vertically integrated, multidisciplinary construction and industrial company with businesses in various contracting disciplines, including piling and foundations, general contracting, electromechanical works, steel fabrication, aluminium and glass, interior and joinery works, ready-mix concrete, and concrete blocks.
The group is led by chief executive officer, Shiraz Hasan, and includes nine different companies: Tech Construction, Tech Engineering, Tech Foundations, Tech AluGlass, Tech Remix, Tech Blocks, Tech Wood, Tech Steel, and Tech Petroleum. In 2017, the company was involved with Ajman’s Al Zorah Project, with a scope of work that included mechanical, electrical, and plumbing works; aluminium and glass cladding; wooden doors and wardrobes; steel fabrication; ready-mix concrete; and paving blocks. Tech Group was also involved with the Ajman Corniche Residence project.
“The group was approaching a turnover of $190.5m (AED699.7m) by the end of 2017,” Hasan tells Construction Week, adding that Tech Group is “targeting a turnover of $272m (AED999.1m) by the end of 2018”.
89. Hamad Al Ameri, Trojan Holding
The managing director of UAE-headquartered construction group Trojan Holding, Eng Hamad Al Ameri, returns to Construction Week’s Power 100 list. Since Trojan’s formation in 2009, the firm has gone from strength to strength, establishing itself as a respected contributor to the built environment within the UAE.
The company claims to be one of the fastest-growing construction firms in the UAE, and Al Ameri has arguably been the driving force behind this positive outlook. In the first quarter of 2018, the company completed construction of its latest project in the UAE, Horizon Towers, which is located on Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi.
Also in Q1, it was announced that Aldar Properties had appointed Trojan General Contracting as the main contractor for its $653.4m (AED2.4bn) Water’s Edge development on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.The development is adjacent to the upcoming SeaWorld theme park, and a five-minute walk from Yas Mall, Ferrari World, and the Yas Marina Circuit.
90. Jamil Jadallah, National Engineering Bureau
Jamil Jadallah has been the managing director of the National Engineering Bureau (NEB) for 16 years and, in that time, the multi-service consultancy has enjoyed strong growth. Last year, the business saw revenue of $48m (AED176.3m), and this is expected to grow by $12m (AED44.1m) to reach $60m (AED220.4m) this year.
NEB’s previous projects have included everything from design to site supervision work for Marina 101, which the firm says is the second-tallest tower in Dubai; the Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina hotel; the Axiom headquarters building in Dubai Silicon Oasis; and the Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah. It has also been involved with a 333m-tall tower on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road, the Kempinski property in the city’s Business Bay locale, a new municipality building for the emirate of Umm al-Quwain, and a shopping mall in the emirate of Sharjah.
Technology is a top priority for the firm, and it has a technology budget of $25,000 (AED91,800) for this year. Jadallah explains that NEB is set to acquire a 3D printer this year, adding that there will also be a substantial investment in staff training, with a budget of $100,000 (AED367,000) earmarked for employee development initiatives in 2018.