WSP Middle East MD backs selectivity to overcome late payment culture

'Disappointing' payment delays can be managed by working with value-oriented clients, Greg Kane said

Greg Kane, managing director for WSP in the Middle East.
Greg Kane, managing director for WSP in the Middle East.

While Greg Kane believes the Middle East's late payment culture has not worsened for WSP, the consulting giant’s Middle East chief has cited his 'disappointment' that it has not improved either, even as other aspects of the regional market continue to advance.

“A perennial problem for this region is getting paid,” said Kane, managing director of WSP in the Middle East, speaking to Construction Week on the consultancy’s regional business as the end of 2018 approaches. 

“I don’t think it has necessarily got worse for us at WSP, but perhaps a point of disappointment is that is hasn’t got better. If we look at our day sales outstanding [rate] – the number of [days] it takes for us to get paid – the Middle East is the highest in the world for us.”

With this in mind, Kane adds, the consultancy has “good relationships and good clients that pay on time and really value” what WSP does.

READ: Middle East contractors embrace selectivity to manage financial risks

“It goes back to being selective and trying to find the clients that you are well aligned with, who [appreciate] ‘value’, and are willing to pay for that value," he added.

"They’re definitely out there – there’s no question of that. We’ve got some superb clients, but there are instances where getting paid is increasingly challenging.”

His comments come amid ongoing expert discussions aimed at overcoming Middle East construction’s late payment culture and contractual disputes.

Contractors, in addition to consultants like WSP, are also adopting a more selective approach when it comes to picking the projects and clients they engage with.

READ: Dubai contractors urge selectivity as margin values drop

Speaking to Construction Week in July, Rajesh Kumar Krishna, chairman and CEO of Beaver Gulf Group, said pricing margins and increased costs have led his company to take an even more discerning view of the projects it bids on.

Krishna explained that selecting clients that agree to – and follow through on – equitable payment terms is the most critical factor in ensuring corporate efficiency and growth.


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