Leaders UAE 2019: How local construction firms can diversify

EXCLUSIVE: Senior officials from ALEC, Arada, and CSCEC ME join Reed Smith’s Sachin Kerur at the Leaders UAE panel

Top bosses from ALEC, Arada, and CSCEC ME at Leaders UAE 2019.
© ITP Media Group
Top bosses from ALEC, Arada, and CSCEC ME at Leaders UAE 2019.

The greatest growth opportunity for the UAE construction sector lies in improving its “basis and foundation”, it was agreed by a panel comprising senior-level officials from Reed Smith, ALEC, Arada, and China State Construction Engineering Corporation Middle East (CSCEC ME), at Construction Week: Leaders in Construction Summit UAE 2019, held at Le Meridein Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre on 17 September.

The panel was moderated by Reed Smith’s managing partner, Sachin Kerur, and attended by chief executive officer of ALEC, Kez Taylor; head of architecture and design at Arada, Elie Mrad; and senior vice president at CSCEC ME, Grigoris C Christofides.

Addressing the audience during the panel – titled Potential for Profit – Identifying Diversification – Taylor said training and development of the workforce must be among a construction company’s top priorities at present.

Taylor – who is currently leading ALEC’s work on megaprojects such as Ithra Dubai’s One Za’abeel – added that companies risked becoming antiquated if they did not keep up with evolving market dynamics.

CSCEC ME’s Christofides said that companies should find ways in which diversification efforts can be implemented to benefit their own business as well as the new sector or geography they enter.

He explained that Saudi Arabia was a market that “cannot be ignored”, adding that the China-headquartered firm – which is working with clients such as Emaar Properties and Damac Properties in Dubai – was also exploring opportunities in Africa, and scope for rebuilding projects in the wider Middle East.

Arada’s Mrad said the formation of the right team and market research were two elements needed to successfully diversify a business for long-term growth.

The UAE real estate developer launched Nest, a student accommodation scheme with a sales value of $190.6m (AED700m), in March 2019.

Mrad said that the project, which was the first student accommodation project in the UAE, had improved the company’s “sales performance in 2019”, adding that Arada’s strategy was focused on “getting the right product at the right time”.

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