Topping Construction Week’s 2017 Power 100 is last year’s runner up, Kez Taylor. As chief executive officer of UAE-headquartered contracting giant, ALEC, Taylor has enjoyed a barnstorming 12 months.
Earlier this month, it emerged that Binaa Dubai had acquired a 90% stake in the company, and it’s not difficult to see why. With revenue in its most recent financial year passing $1.06bn (AED3.9bn), and projected income of $1.09bn (AED4bn) for 2017/18, ALEC is in rude financial health.
Taylor’s team completed a dizzying array of UAE projects between June 2016 and May 2017, including Bvlgari Resort & Residences Dubai; Phase 2 of Dubai Festival City; numerous works on Terminals 1 and 3 of Abu Dhabi International Airport; UAE Martyr’s Memorial Park; and Jebel Ali School.
ALEC’s portfolio of ongoing projects, meanwhile, includes the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) expansion at Al Maktoum International Airport; Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City; Dubai Hills Estate Regional Mall; and Select Group’s three-tower Marina Gate development.
Commenting on potential growth areas for the coming year, Taylor told Construction Week: “The biggest opportunity [for ALEC] will be the award of mega-construction projects in Dubai, such as Dubai Creek Harbour and the Expo 2020 site.
“These megaprojects cannot be delivered by everyone; they require a certain skillset to ensure they are delivered on time and within budget. We see this as a major opportunity for ALEC and all of our related businesses,” he added.
2. Yu Tao, president and CEO, CSCEC ME
As president and chief executive officer of China State Construction Engineering Corporation Middle East (CSCEC ME), Yu Tao presides over the regional activities of the second largest contractor on the planet.
With more than 10,000 construction professionals currently working in the GCC, 966 of whom are qualified engineers, CSCEC ME boasts one of the region’s most comprehensive project portfolios.
Between June 2016 and May 2017, Tao’s team completed packages on a series of high-profile projects, including Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai; Al Hikma Tower; Dubai Water Canal; and Al Amal Hospital.
Within the UAE, the contractor is currently working on Viceroy Dubai Jumeirah Village; Crescent Hotel; Hameni Tower; Damac Towers by Paramount Hotels & Resorts; and Abu International Airport’s Midfield Terminal Building (MTB).
Outside of the Emirates, CSCEC ME is working as the main contractor for Kuwait University Academic Support Facilities (ACSF), a key component of Sabah Al-Salem University City.
Commenting on upcoming opportunities for CSCEC ME, Tao identified China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ strategy, which seeks to strengthen the country’s links with other Eurasian markets.
“The Chinese government will continue to work with the UAE government in various areas, such as the economy, technology, and culture,” Tao elaborated. “CSCEC ME will benefit from the ‘One Belt One Road’ strategy by participating in [future] construction projects in the UAE.”
3. Samer Khoury, president – engineering and construction, CCC
In third position on Construction Week’s 2017 Power 100, climbing two places from his previous position, is Samer Khoury, president of engineering and construction at Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC).
During its 2016 financial year, CCC’s global revenue passed the $5.4bn mark, and its projected income for 2017 is a touch above $5.9bn.
Between June 2016 and May 2017, Khoury’s team completed several high-profile projects across the GCC, including Package 6 of Oman’s Batinah Expressway; Burj Vista in the UAE; Package 1 of the Wasit Gas Development Project in Saudi Arabia; and Kuwait’s New Export Transit Pipelines.
The contractor’s ongoing regional projects include the Jazan Refinery and Terminal Project in Saudi Arabia; the Rabab Harweel Integrated Project in Oman; and Package 1 of Kuwait’s Mina Abdullah Clean Fuels Project, which involves engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC).
In the UAE, CCC is currently working as the main contractor for Dubai’s Emirates Hills development. Under the terms of the deal, Khoury and his colleagues will complete the design and construction of two residential towers and two hotel and serviced apartment towers, plus an interconnecting podium with basement-level car parking.
When asked about the biggest challenges facing CCC’s business in the Middle East, Khoury cited “unfair payment conditions and delays in payment”.
4. Ghassan Merehbi, chairman and founder, Arabian Construction Company
Ghassan Merehbi, president and founder of Arabian Construction Company (ACC), has enjoyed a particularly busy 12 months.
While his firm’s 2016 revenue of $1.1bn represented a slight decline compared to the $1.27bn figure achieved in 2015, ACC boasts in-hand contracts worth approximately $5.3bn and a backlog of around $3bn.
Moreover, Merehbi presides over an enormous team of regional construction professionals. At the last count, ACC employed more than 19,000 skilled tradespeople, almost 6,000 labourers, approximately 900 qualified engineers, and in excess of 1,800 ancillary staff.
Encouragingly, this mammoth workforce has been particularly busy during the past 12 months. Between June 2016 and May 2017, ACC completed a diverse array of regional projects, including Waterfront City in Beirut, Lebanon; Jeddah Gate E8, E9, and E10 in Saudi Arabia; a souq renovation package for Abu Dhabi’s Central Market Redevelopment in the UAE; and Volante Tower in Dubai.
Merehbi’s team is currently supporting construction works at Abu Dhabi’s Al Meena Residential and Commercial Tower; Dubai’s The Address Residence Sky View and The Address Residence Fountain View; Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Mosque in Al Ain; Jeddah Gate E5 in Saudi Arabia; and many others, both in the GCC and beyond.
When asked what he believes will represent ACC’s biggest opportunity during the coming 12 months, Merehbi revealed his intention to “enter new geographical areas and industries”.
5. Hamish Tyrwhitt, group CEO, Arabtec Holding | group CEO, DEPA
In what looks to be a Construction Week Power 100 record, Hamish Tyrwhitt has climbed 71 places since 2016.
When last year’s issue went to print, Tyrwhitt was group chief executive officer of Depa. While he has retained this title, Tyrwhitt has added several other roles to his CV during the past 12 months, including group CEO of Arabtec Holding, acting CEO of Arabtec Construction, and acting CEO of EFECO – all part of the Arabtec family.
It’s no secret that Arabtec Holding has had a challenging few years, but the company’s fortunes appear to be on the rise. While it made a net loss of $953m (AED3.5bn) last year, Q1 2017 saw the UAE-headquartered construction giant turn a profit for the first time in since 2014.
Backed by the group’s 58,000-strong workforce, Tyrwhitt is now looking to capitalise on this momentum and secure future growth. Arabtec Construction’s ongoing projects include Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Midfield Terminal Complex (MTC); Bahrain International Airport; Abu Dhabi’s West Yas Development; and the University of Kuwait. Moreover, in May 2017, Wasl Asset Management awarded the $398m (AED1.46bn) main contract for Dubai’s Wasl Tower to the contractor.
Commenting on his team’s major opportunities for the coming year, Tyrwhitt told Construction Week: “Our recapitalisation programme has enabled us to look to the future and ensure we are well placed to capitalise on opportunities arising from [major events and initiatives].”
6. Emad Azmy, president, ASGC
As president of UAE-based contractor, ASGC, Emad Azmy has enjoyed solid levels of business during the past 12 months. In its most recent financial year, his company achieved revenue of approximately $816.8m (AED3bn), and Azmy’s team projects that income in 2017 will hit $1.09bn (AED4bn).
At present, ASGC employs more than 1,100 construction professionals, 522 of whom are qualified engineers. Azmy and his colleagues are also responsible for a 9,210-strong cohort of labourers.
Azmy is a keen proponent of professional development, as evidenced by his company’s continued investment in its workforce. Last year, ASGC spent approximately $110,000 (AED405,400) on training and certification, and the company is on course to invest an additional $122,500 (AED450,000) during the course of 2017.
Encouragingly for Azmy, such investments appear to be paying off, both in terms of work secured and productivity. Between June 2016 and May 2017, ASGC completed works on numerous UAE projects, including Etihad Museum, The Onyx, and Marina Bloom. Moreover, ASGC is currently working as the main contractor on Mohamed Bin Rashid Library, the Terminal 1 refurbishment at Dubai International Airport, Vivanta Hotel by Taj, and The Dubai Mall expansion project.
Commenting on ASGC’s future priorities, Azmy said: “Our aim is to maintain the trust and confidence that Dubai government organisations and main developers have given us, and continue to develop our relationships with other main clients.”
7. Sani Şener, president and CEO, TAV Group
As president and chief executive officer of TAV Group, Sani Sener and his colleagues have enjoyed a busy year, especially within their core market of aviation.
Since its establishment in 2003, TAV Construction, the Turkey-based group’s construction arm, has built up a portfolio of completed and ongoing projects worth more than $19bn. Last year, the division achieved almost $1.5bn in global revenue, and Sener expects to sustain these levels in 2017.
In the GCC, TAV employs more than 20,000 people, approximately 1,100 of whom are qualified engineers. As part of various joint ventures, the company is currently supporting construction on Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Midfield Terminal Building (MTB); Bahrain International Airport’s modernisation programme; and Muscat International Airport’s expansion.
Sener and his team have also made significant inroads in non-aviation sectors. For instance, TAV is working as the main contractor on Damac Towers by Paramount Hotels & Resorts, a four-tower megaproject in Dubai’s Business Bay area.
Commenting on the strategic importance of the Gulf to TAV Construction’s activities, Sener said: “We see the Middle East as one of our primary target [markets] for future expansion. Our strategy is to sustain this growth with new [and] prestigious projects in already established markets, where we have a strong presence and reputation. With this in mind, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain represent the three main venues for our short- to medium-term growth.”
8. Khaled Musaed El Seif, chairman, El Seif Engineering Contracting Co
As chairman of Saudi Arabia-based El Seif Engineering Contracting Company, Khaled Musaed El Seif presides over one of the largest contracting companies in the kingdom.
The company, which employs more than 40,000 construction professionals in total, completed an impressive number of projects between June 2016 and May 2017.
In Saudi Arabia, the firm acted as the main contractor for the Haramain High Speed Rail Project’s passenger stations in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC); the Millennium Hotel in Ha’il; a sports hall and athletic stadium in Jeddah; and junctions, underpasses, travelators, tunnels, and land bridges for Thumamah Road in Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD).
El Seif’s current project portfolio, meanwhile, includes a series of large-scale developments in both its domestic market and the neighbouring UAE.
At present, the company is supporting the construction of 10 residential cities in the kingdom’s Southern Region, and a five-star hotel in the city of Tabouk. In the Emirates, El Seif is working on Dubai’s Entisar Tower, and a 2,200-villa Meydan residential development.
The Saudi Arabian contractor is also facilitating the development of a security-related special forces project, and a building that will be used in the pursuit of international cooperation, both within the Middle East region.
9. Mohamed Alabbar, chairman, Emaar Properties
Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of UAE-headquartered Emaar Properties and the highest-ranking developer on Construction Week’s 2017 Power 100, sits at the helm of a vast real estate empire in both its domestic Dubai market and beyond.
Earlier this month, the firm announced plans to list its UAE real estate development business through an equity offering of up to 30% on Dubai Financial Market (DFM) – a move that saw the DFM General Index register a three-month high of 3,406 points.
Emaar Properties reported a net profit of $377m (AED1.4bn) in Q1 2017, an increase of 15% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. Commenting on the results, Alabbar said: “We have seen an increase in property sales in Dubai, and we are on track with our construction milestones.”
Emaar’s current flagship project, The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour, has also witnessed significant progress during the past year. Since the development’s ground-breaking ceremony in October 2016, more than 145 barrette piles have been laid, and they are now being trimmed in preparation for the laying of a 19m-thick pile cap.
10. Bakr Bin Laden, chairman, Saudi Binladin Group
It’s been another difficult year for Bakr Bin Laden, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s ailing contracting giant, Saudi Binladin Group (SBG). Shortly after publication of Construction Week’s 2016 Power 100, reports emerged that SBG planned to sell property and other assets to pay its mounting debts.
In October 2016, UAE daily The National reported that payments to SBG from Saudi Arabia’s finance ministry had started to filter through, and were helping to alleviate the contractor’s financial pressures.
In February 2017, Reuters reported that Bin Laden and his colleagues had secured fresh payments from Saudi Arabia’s government as part of further efforts to pay monies owed. The move, according to the news wire’s anonymous sources, was intended to provide a boost to both SBG and the kingdom’s economy.
Nevertheless, SBG’s financial woes have resulted in public criticism from numerous segments of the market, including expatriate employees who claim to have been left unpaid and stranded in Saudi Arabia, and construction companies from elsewhere in the supply chain. The former board of kingdom-based contractor Mohammad Al-Mojil Group (MMG), for example, accused SBG of non-payment in July of last year.
Nevertheless, Bin Laden remains an influential figure within the Middle East’s constructions sector, with historic projects spanning the aviation, healthcare, and education segments, not to mention a series of high-profile developments in the holy cities of Makkah and Medina.
11. Pierre Sironval, managing director, Six Construct
As managing director of Six Construct, the wholly owned Middle East subsidiary of Belgium’s Besix Group, Pierre Sironval has had a pleasingly busy 12 months.
In its 2016 financial year, Six Construct recorded revenue of approximately $1.08bn (AED3.95bn). Encouragingly, Sironval expects to grow this figure to $1.09bn (AED4bn) in 2017, having already secured $983m (AED3.61bn) worth of contracts.
Between June 2016 and May 2017 in the UAE, Six Construct completed UAE projects such as Dubai Water Canal, Deira Island’s quay wall and access bridge, and a very large crude carrier (VLCC) jetty in Fujairah. The contractor’s ongoing contracts include event infrastructure works for Expo 2020 Dubai, the Jebal Ali Sewage Treatment Plant, and The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences.
Sironval told Construction Week that the development of Al Maktoum International Airport, and preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai, will represent Six Contract’s primary opportunities during the next 12 months.
12. Stephen Flint, group manager, Khansaheb | Director, Interserve
Stephen Flint, group general manager of UAE-based Khansaheb and director of the contractor’s UK-headquartered parent company Interserve, has enjoyed another solid year of business in the Emirates.
During the past 12 months, Khansaheb has completed several notable projects in the UAE, including Dubai Properties’ DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai in Business Bay; and additional phases of Majid Al Futtaim’s Mall of the Emirates capital expenditure (CAPEX) project.
During the coming year, Khansaheb is scheduled to complete works on Serenia Residences, Palma Holding’s 249-unit residential project on Palm Jumeirah; Phase 1 of Majid Al Futtaim’s City Centre Ajman expansion; a 389-key Premier Inn hotel in Al Jaddaf; a set of commercial offices in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC); and the refurbishment of guestrooms at Jumeirah Group’s Jumeirah Beach Hotel (JBH).
While Flint cites under-capacity within the specialist sub-contracting market and rising prices as imminent challenges, he sees Expo 2020 Dubai as a significant opportunity for Khansaheb.
“The UAE’s focus on Expo 2020 Dubai continues to act as a catalyst for a range of project opportunities across the emirate, with major developments such as Dubai Creek Harbour, Jumeirah Central, and Dubai Hills now in progress,” he explained. “Khansaheb is focussing on these areas, in addition to the numerous other development opportunities in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.”
13. Patrick McKinney, area director – Middle East and Gulf states, BAM International
Having spent the past seven years as BAM International’s area director for the Middle East and Gulf states, Patrick McKinney boasts an expansive knowledge of regional construction, especially within the contractor’s core market of marine projects.
Between June 2016 and May 2017, working as a main contractor, BAM International completed two major marine projects in the UAE: Phases 1B and 2 of Container Terminal 4 at DP World’s Jebel Ali Port in Dubai; and the breakwater project at Hamriyah Port in Sharjah.
In June 2016, McKinney and his colleagues also completed its package of works as main contractor for Phase 2 of a stadium and mixed-use project in Al Ain. Under the terms of the deal, the firm built six five-storey residential buildings, a commercial building, a multi-storey car park, a souq, a 172-bed four-star hotel, and associated infrastructure.
At present, the firm is supporting construction activities for Phases 1 and 2 of Ras Al Khaimah’s Saqr Port expansion on behalf of Saqr Port Authority; the supply and installation of quick-release hooks at Jebel Ali Port for DP World; and dolphin improvements at Jebel Ali Port’s Tanker Berth 7 on behalf of Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC).
Looking ahead, McKinney told Construction Week that his team would pursue repeat business with major clients, including DP World, Aafaq Holding, and Aldar in the UAE; and ADC-Aqaba Development Corporation in Jordan.
14. Greg Kane, managing director – Middle East, WSP
A newcomer to Construction Week’s Power 100, Greg Kane replaced Tom Bower as WSP’s Middle East managing director in May 2016, and it’s fair to say that his first at the helm has been reassuringly busy.
At a corporate level, Kane has been overseeing the Middle East portion of the consultancy’s global rebrand, which saw its name change from WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff to WSP in May 2017. The transition, which began following WSP’s acquisition of Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2014, involved a comprehensive brand research and development exercise in consultation with 600 clients, 600 prospective clients, and 350 members of the company’s global workforce.
Kane’s team has also seen a significant amount of onsite action during the past 12 months, and is continuing to support the development of a diverse array of large-scale projects across the region.
For example, WSP’s historic Middle East project portfolio includes, but is by no means limited to, United Tower and South Surra in Kuwait; Jeddah Corniche in Saudi Arabia; and One JBR in the UAE.
Commenting on WSP’s current and future activities in the Gulf, Kane told Construction Week: “Dubai remains an encouraging market for our property and buildings business; we have secured some high-quality projects over the last year. Saudi Arabia is a large market, but one to which we are not heavily exposed [at present. Nevertheless], WSP believes that changes to how things are delivered in the kingdom will bring selective quality opportunities for the business during the coming years.”
15. Hamed Zaghw, CEO, Aecom
Hamed Zaghw is the chief executive officer for Aecom’s Middle East operation. Zaghw, who joined Aecom as chief operating officer in November 2014, took over his current role in October 2016.
The company recorded $17.4bn in revenues during its 2016 fiscal year (October 2015 to September 2016), of which 3.7% was set as profit. As of 1 May, 2017, Aecom employs 3,920 full-time staff, of which 566 are female employees.
Aecom’s project portfolio from the past year includes the UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Road with Musanada, for which the firm provided construction supervision services. In the months to come, Aecom’s team will work on key developments such as the King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia.
Zaghw said Vision 2030 in Saudi Arabia would be “the single biggest opportunity for business” during the upcoming year.
16. Ali Rashid Lootah, chairman, Nakheel Properties
Driven by chairman Ali Rashid Lootah, Nakheel Properties has had a positive start to the year, with $403m (AED1.48bn) in net profits for the first quarter of 2017.
Q1 2017 saw Nakheel awarding construction contracts worth $1.36bn (AED5bn), signing agreements with two Thai hotel operators, and announcing an investment of $40.84m (AED150m) to create a network of cycle routes across Dubai, state news agency, Dubai Media Office (DMO), reported.
The developer will award a new set of contracts worth $1.09bn (AED4bn) in Q2 2017, as it continues to expand its retail, hospitality, and residential leasing businesses, DMO’s report added.
Remarking on the financials, Lootah said: “Our first quarter results are as forecast. We continue to execute our long-term business plan, in turn contributing positively to Dubai’s real estate sector.”
17. Talal Al Dhiyebi, CDO, Aldar Properties
The first quarter of 2017 has been a happy one for Talal Al Dhiyebi, chief development officer (CDO) at Aldar Properties. This May, the company announced a 39% increase in gross profit – to $205m (AED753m) – compared to $147.5m (AED542m) in Q1 2016. Aldar’s revenue rose 28% to $430m (AED1.58bn), driven by developments under construction.
In June, Aldar confirmed that the construction of its residential and hospitality projects on Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island was progressing as planned.
Aldar’s Vida Hotels and Resorts project, part of its hospitality portfolio, will comprise a 262-key hotel and 192 serviced apartments. The hospitality facilities will be accompanied by 329 marina residences within the Reem Island development.
Construction works for the Vida development are due to commence this year, and will complete in 2020.
18. Simon Moon, CEO – MEA, Atkins
The last year has been a positive one for Simon Moon, chief executive officer of Atkins’ operations in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. In its last financial year – between 1 April, 2016 and 31 March, 2017 – Atkins’ Middle East revenues increased to $317.1m, from $276.7m in 2015/16.
The last 12 months have seen Atkins gain prominence for its role on landmark projects such as the Dubai Opera – for which the company served as multi-discipline engineer – and the Al Ain Bus Station, situated near Al Ain Oasis, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Moon told Construction Week that Atkins’ digital vision would continue to offer growth opportunities for his team in the year to come: “The focus on […] digital engineering technologies helps Atkins keep up with the rising demand […] for faster design and delivery in realising projects’ objectives.”
19. Gary Adams, president – MEA, Parsons Corp
US-headquartered Parsons Corporation’s president for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, Gary Adams, is proud of his team’s performance over the last 12 months. Parsons MEA, he said, delivered “solid results [in] 2016 [...], particularly given sustained pressure on oil and gas prices, along with clients reprioritising projects in the region”.
He continued: “Despite these challenges, we still identified and won new work in both our traditional market sectors, as well as in our emerging markets. Our MEA business unit has posted solid results in recent years and grown considerably; the region is still responsible for about 20% of our global revenues.
Some of the largest developments that Parsons is currently involved in include Riyadh Metro, Yanbu Industrial City, and a housing project with the Ministry of Housing in Saudi Arabia.
20. Wael Allan, group CEO, Drake & Scull International PJSC
Drake & Scull International’s (DSI’s) overall revenue for fiscal year 2016 fell to $898,500 (AED3.3m), from $1.1m (AED4.2m) in 2015, with the company noting that its operating performance was affected by cost overruns and revenue reversals on disputed legacy projects.
Despite the drop in the company’s revenue, Wael Allan and the rest of the DSI team are optimistic about the market, with the company’s CEO noting that he’s expecting 2017 revenues to be consistent with DSI’s historical trading levels.
“As of 31 December, 2016, DSI’s order backlog has reached $2.2bn (AED8.1bn),” said Allan. “We believe that the demand for our MEP engineering services remains strong. We are qualified for key opportunities in the region and are well-positioned to secure prospects in the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) segment in 2017.”
According to DSI, the total value of projects that it secured in 2016 stood at $221.9m (AED815m), with the UAE and the engineering businesses accounting for 23% and 71% of the backlog, respectively. These figures, Allan said, reflected the company’s “strategic and renewed focus” on its home market and core engineering business.
DSI’s team of 19,000 full-time staff is presently kept busy working on a host of projects in the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, and Kuwait, among other locations. In the UAE alone, the company is involved in more than 15 projects that are under development, including the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi, for which it has been brought on board to implement all MEP work and incidentals within the 64,000m2 museum complex.
DSI is also implementing the MEP contract for the Presidential Palace in Ras Al Akhdar, in Abu Dhabi, a project valued at $93m (AED340m). It has also been engaged to work on the Jewel of the Creek and Fountain View projects in Dubai.
In addition to its high-profile projects, DSI has identified corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities as another area of focus through the Drake & Scull Foundation.
Allan said: “The Drake & Scull Foundation is an integral part of our commitment to improve the conditions of society and empower people to achieve their dreams.”
21. HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, founder and chairman, KBW Investments
Despite having only established his portfolio group, KBW Investments, four years ago, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal has already started to set out long-term growth strategies for the conglomerate. Investment in human capital forms a major part of his vision.
“As a fairly young company, we’ve now taken measures to institute a better human capital schema,” said Prince Khaled. “The larger the company gets, the more we feel that building our human capital segment is integral to a smooth, productive, and pleasant workplace. We invest in sending our people with potential to relevant training, and we encourage participation in relevant industry events.”
Prince Khaled, who is also the chairman of the Saudi Green Building Forum’s (SGBF) trustee board, told Construction Week that he intends to cultivate “impact-driven businesses”, which will benefit communities on a grand scale.
“I have gradually moved towards impact-driven businesses, meaning start-ups with social good as a core element,” he explained.
“With our Jordan portfolio, for example, we have committed – as part of the overall solar photovoltaic (PV) and light-emitting diode (LED) implementation initiatives – to provide power to 12,000 homes of Amman’s lower-income residents. This impact investment represents a win-win scenario for the constituents, the respective governmental bodies, and for KBW, as the project driver.”
Prince Khaled is also making his presence felt in the UAE’s property sector with Nasma Residences. The Sharjah project is being developed by Arada, an enterprise formed jointly by KBW and Basma Group.
“Nasma Residences is a [development] valued at $408m (AED1.5bn), with several large-scale projects to follow in the UAE and further afield,” said Prince Khaled.
KBW’s other business units are reportedly exhibiting solid performances as well. “KBEC, our mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) endeavour, recently landed a large-scale contract for one of the [UAE’s] premier developers,” Prince Khaled noted, adding: “Our real shining star this year, in the specialty sub-contractor [segment], is TTM’s Australian arm, [which has secured] a substantial portfolio of 30 concurrent projects in the past 12 months.”
22. Hussain Sajwani, founder and chairman, Damac Properties
The first quarter of 2017 was a productive one for Damac Properties, with the company reporting that its booked sales hit $600m (AED2.2bn), reflecting an 11% increase over Q1 2016 figures and a 29% increase over Q4 2016.
“We generated revenues of $530m (AED1.9bn), with a gross profit of $288m (AED1.1bn) at a 54% gross profit margin,” said Hussain Sajwani, founder and chairman of Damac Properties. “We recorded a net profit of $240m (AED880m) at a margin of 45%. Our total equity was up 7%, to $3.7bn (AED13.5bn).”
Q1 2017 also saw the UAE-headquartered developer, founded by Sajwani in 2002, deliver 550 units in Damac Hills, a number that Damac said represented 20% of the company’s full-year guidance of 2,800 units.
Other than Damac Hills, the developer has 13 in-progress projects, including Damac Towers by Paramount, Tower 108, and Paramount Tower Hotel & Residences Dubai, as well as Akoya Oxygen, its second master development, and Aykon City. The latter, which is located on Sheikh Zayed Road and overlooks Dubai Canal, is a six-tower development.
Damac also has eight projects in Dubai that are in the planning stages. They include Central Square, Madison Residences II, Cultural Village, and Plots 1 and 2 of Jumeirah Village.
According to the company, its development portfolio consists of more than 44,000 units at various stages of progress and planning, comprising more than 13,000 hotel rooms, serviced apartments, and hotel villas, which will be managed by its hospitality arm, Damac Hotels & Resorts.
Speaking about the opportunities that exist in the market for Damac, Sajwani said: “We aim to build a stable recurring income stream over medium term, which could comprise residential and retail space in our master developments, and a pool of residential units that could be put under a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for generating rental income, as well as income from hospitality division and commercial leasing.”
He added: “We continue to look for opportunities to replenish our land bank, in Dubai mainly.”
23. David Welch, president for international and government affairs, Bechtel
David Welch, the president for international and government affairs at Bechtel, and his colleagues, are having a busy year in the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia. The engineering, procurement, and construction company was awarded, in February, a contract to set up and operate the National Project Management Organization (NPMO), which will support Saudi government agencies in their delivery of infrastructure projects in line with Vision 2030.
Bechtel is also working on Lines 1 and 2 of the Riyadh Metro Project, and recently launched a graduate training programme with the aim of training and hiring as many as 75 students from the Riyadh College of Technology.
The company has worked on significant infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia, including the King Fahd and King Khalid airports, and the Ras Al Khair aluminium smelter.
24. Osama Bishai, CEO, Orascom Construction
Orascom’s chief executive officer, Osama Bishai, has been with the company since 1985, and is credited with playing a key role in the development of its construction business. At present, he is spearheading the Egypt-headquartered contractor’s efforts to create a long-term concessions portfolio.
In May, Orascom reported that its revenues in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for Q1 2017 registered a 15.1% rise, to $594.8m, compared to Q1 2016 figures, which stood at $516.6m.
In a statement, the company said: “Orascom continues to expand its presence in key infrastructure segments in Egypt, adding approximately $224m of new awards to the backlog in Q1 2017.
“In other MENA markets, Orascom continues to study new infrastructure and industrial opportunities. The group is particularly pursuing further projects in the UAE, in partnership with Besix.”
Ahmad Abdelrazaq, executive vice president, Samsung C&T
South Korea-headquartered contracting company, Samsung C&T, generated around $25bn in revenues during the 2016 financial year, of which around $123m was recorded as profit.
As the company’s executive vice president, and having been with Samsung C&T for nearly 15 years, Ahmad Abdelrazaq has been an integral part of many of the company’s projects across the globe, including Burj Khalifa, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Tadawal and Al Rajhi Bank in Riyadh, and the Petronas Towers in Malysia.
Set to be added to this list are the 62 projects the company currently has under construction around the world, with a combined value of $25.8bn. These projects are spread across different sectors, such as healthcare, aviation, and hospitality.
Samsung C&T is also involved in the construction of civil infrastructure projects, marine structures, and energy facilities, such as nuclear power plants, oil and gas stations, and energy storage and transportation.
26. William Haddad, chairman and founder, MACE
Since its inception in 1968, Mechanical and Civil Engineering (MACE) Contractors has identified “service to humanity” as its company motto, with its application said to be evident in the company’s approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR).
According to the company, its founder and chairman, William Haddad, regards CSR as “fundamental to a sustainable business” and believes that “strong communities support strong organisations, and vice versa”.
“As a local organisation, we look for strategies that have global relevance. Therefore, we aim to work on projects that ultimately serve the wider community, bringing about improved standards of living,” said Haddad.
Between June 2016 and May 2017, the company completed several projects in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, including construction works associated with Phase 3 of the rehabilitation and replacement of existing sewer lines in Abu Dhabi, and construction works for Phase 2 of the replacement and enhancement of septic tanks in Al Ain.
The next 12 months will see MACE which identifies the UAE and Oman as its two most important markets in the Middle East continuing to focus its attention on projects in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.
In the UAE capital, it will be implementing residual civil and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) works for Phase 1 of the KIZAD infrastructure, and the supply and installation of sector measuring points in the eastern region of the emirate, a project it will be undertaking for the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC).
In Al Ain, MACE will be supplying and installing new meters for domestic water connections, as well as implementing connection pipeline replacements, meter replacements, and modification works, for Al Ain Distribution Company (AADC).
The coming months will also see MACE looking to partner with international companies interested in entering the GCC market; further developing and enhancing internal resources; implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) across the company; and acquiring an international oil and gas company that also specialises in operations and maintenance (O&M).
27. Imad Gholmieh, president and CEO, Nesma & Partners
Climbing nine spots on the list, from 36 in 2016 to 27 this year, is the president and chief executive officer of Nesma & Partners, Imad Gholmieh.
Under Gholmieh’s leadership, the Saudi Arabian firm recorded $1.1bn (SAR4bn) in revenues in 2016, and – as of 31 December, 2016 – had a remaining contract backlog of approximately $4.4bn (SAR16.5bn).
The company, which expects its revenues for 2017 to hit $1.47bn (SAR5.5bn), has three major projects lined up for the next 12 months, one involving the King Abdul Aziz Road (KAAR) development. For that project, the company’s scope of work includes design, construction, testing, and commissioning of infrastructure works.
Nesma has also been brought on board by Saudi Arabia National Guard Health Affairs (SANGHA) for its hospital projects in Riyadh, Jeddah, Al Taif, and Al Qassim. Its scope of work covers the construction of five specialised hospitals, including a 300-bed maternity hospital, a 176-bed neuroscience and trauma care centre, and a 350-bed children’s hospital.
Moreover, the firm will be handling the design and implementation of Riyadh Metro’s Package 2, which comprises Line 3, or the Red Line. According to Nesma, the contract covers civil works on a 40.7km alignment, including 22 stations, electrical and mechanical equipment, and rolling stock. Nesma is responsible for the construction of all of Package 2’s underground stations, as well as all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP), and finishing works for above-ground stations.
Despite recognising that challenges like delayed payments are present in the market, Gholmieh and his team are cognisant of existing opportunities, especially in its four biggest markets: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Oman. One such opportunity is the King Salman International Complex for Maritime Industries and Services project in Ras Al-Khair.
28. Fakher Al Shawaf, CEO, Al Bawani
Low liquidity, delayed payments, and an overall challenging market may be a reality for a number of construction firms operating in Saudi Arabia, but Fakher Al Shawaf remains positive about Al Bawani’s foothold in the country.
The chief executive officer of the Riyadh-headquartered, 100% Saudi-owned and managed construction company, noted that Al Bawani continues to recruit workers every month, having secured contracts worth $933.3m (SAR3.5bn) in 2016.
Moreover, last year saw the company complete the enabling and structural packages for Cayan Group’s 14-storey CMC Tower. The group’s portfolio also includes King Abdullah Financial District Museum, a project being developed by Al Raidah Investment Company; and the King Abdulla Center for Cancer and Liver Disease, by King Faisal Hospital and Research Center.
For the latter, Al Bawani’s scope of work covers the preparation of the shop drawing, the procurement and delivery of construction materials, and the testing and commissioning of the project.
Al Bawani is also carrying out works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Riyadh, a project that is nearing the 90% completion mark. According to the company, its scope of work includes quality finishing, facade works, and extensive landscaping.
The new ministry building will reportedly comprise an auditorium, lecture halls, a library, classrooms, and a hall for visa applicants, among other features. The building is also expected to be able to accommodate a number of shared facilities, such as a cafeteria and prayer rooms.
29. Talal Moafaq Al Gaddah, CEO, MAG Property Development
The property arm of MAG Group, MAG Property Development (MAG PD), has high expectations for fiscal year 2017.
Talal Moafaq Al Gaddah’s UAE-based firm is expecting its revenues for the year to hit the $544.5m (AED2bn) mark by 31 December – more than double its performance in 2016, which stood at $136.1m (AED500m).
This optimistic outlook is backed by the several projects MAG PD currently has in development, including MAG 5 Boulevard in Dubai South; MAG 230, which is adjacent to IMG World of Adventure; MAG 318 in Business Bay; MBL Residences in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT); MAG of Life Creek Resort in Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC); and Meydan District 7.
Singling out its Meydan project as the one that promises the biggest opportunities for the company, Al Gaddah commented: “A huge opportunity is our development of 4,000 units and 1,000 townhouses in Meydan – an area that is growing in popularity thanks to its proximity to key destinations, landmarks, and attractions, including City Of Arabia, Business Bay, Downtown Dubai, Dubai Healthcare City, and the Meydan racecourse.”
Al Gaddah, chief executive officer of MAG PD, also noted that the company, which considers the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait as its most important markets in the region, is working towards developing projects that meet the requirements of both the mid-range and high-end sectors.
To strengthen its presence in the Middle East, MAG provides in-house training for its 2,000 employees, Al Gaddah said, adding that the company also undertakes corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in the areas of education, development, and philanthropy.
30. Derek Lewis, director of construction, Al-Futtaim Carillion
The past year has been a busy one for Derek Lewis and Al-Futtaim Carillion (AFC). The company’s director of construction and his team completed a number of projects, including Phase 4 of Madinat Jumeirah Resort in Dubai and Four Seasons Hotel at Al Maryah Island, in Abu Dhabi.
In the next 12 months, the company will be carrying out main contractor duties for W Hotel & Residences on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, the new Hard Rock Hotel in Abu Dhabi, and the Shaheen Alumina Refinery, also in Abu Dhabi, among other projects.
AFC was also chosen as the main contractor for a $600m (AED2.2bn) Dubai Expo 2020 project. The contract includes the development of three districts that will house 136 pavilions, which will be used by participating countries, non-governmental organisations, and commercial partners.
31. Ashraf Al-Garf, CEO, Projacs
As chief executive officer of Projacs, Ashraf Al-Garf is responsible for the company’s 508 full-time employees in the GCC, 337 of whom are qualified engineers. Prior to taking on his current role two years ago, he served as the company’s deputy CEO for eight years.
Projacs currently has 12 active developments in its project portfolio, including Jeddah’s new international airport, for which it is carrying out project management oversight. It is also undertaking the complete project and construction management duties for projects like the Ikea showroom in Damman, a children’s hospital in Cairo, and an Aabar hotel in Dubai.
Between June 2016 and May 2017, the company completed a total of eight projects. These included the new headquarters of the Central Bank of Kuwait, valued at $300m (KWD91m), and the AlFareeda Residential Community in Jeddah, valued at $426m (SAR1.6bn).
32. PNC Menon, founder and chairman, Sobha Group
Originally from Kerala, India, PNC Menon has been operating in the Middle East market since 1976, the year he relocated to Oman. After establishing a name for himself in the Omani market and in the neighbouring GCC states, he founded Sobha India in 1995 and, in 2003, expanded its footprint to Dubai, where the company is now headquartered.
At present, Sobha keeps its team of 306 full-time employees busy with its flagship project, Sobha Hartland, and its joint venture with Meydan Group, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District One, both in Dubai.
The former is a mixed-use luxury development comprising villas, row houses, apartments, schools, hotels, retail outlets, and entertainment facilities. The latter, meanwhile, is a luxury villa community that consists of 1,500 villas.
“With each passing day, my conviction and inspiration towards the future potential of Dubai only increases – primarily due to the vision, dedication, and world-class execution of the country’s leadership,” said Menon.
33. Mohammed Al Rais, regional president for project management, Hill International
This year did not start off on an auspicious note for Mohammed Al Rais and the rest of Hill International – its total revenue for Q1 2017 was $107.6m, 19.9% lower compared to the first quarter of 2016.
Its performance in the previous quarter had been no better, with the firm reporting revenue earnings of $128.8m for Q4 2016, 14.2% lower than the corresponding period of the previous year.
Attributing its overall lacklustre performance to challenging Middle East and Latin American markets, Hill International noted, however, that the reductions were partially offset by a 16.9% increase in its US activities.
All is not doom and gloom in its Gulf operations as well, since it continues to bag projects one being a $3.3m (AED12m) Masdar City contract that it won in March this year. Hill will complete the construction of Masdar Institute Neighbourhood as part of Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City.
34. Devaki Khimji, executive director, Al Tasnim Group
The second half of 2016 up until the first quarter of this year was a busy period for Al Tasnim Group and its executive director, Devaki Khimji, as the company carried out main contractor duties on 11 projects.
These projects include the National Bank of Oman and Phase 1-3 of the Regional Headquarters Complex for the Royal Oman Police at Rustaq and at Ibri, for which it took care of civil, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP), and finishing activities.
Al Tasnim was also the main contractor for Phase 2-4 of the Al Mouj Muscat Sector 6 residential development, which saw the company implement all the civil, MEP, and finishing works for 99 luxury villas. According to the company, the next 12 months will see it working on 18 projects, including a proposed border post complex at Buraimi, a mixed-use development at Ghala Heights for Al Fardan, and an accommodation and recreational building at Sohar.
Al Tasnim has also been awarded the main contract for the American British Academy at Al Irfan, the Omantel Headquarters at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, and the OMINVEST headquarters.
Although all of the group’s projects are in Oman, Khimji told Construction Week that Al Tasnim is “actively reviewing opportunities in the wider GCC”.
Elaborating, she said: “We remain committed to growing the business and, in parallel, to consolidating the efficiencies over the [next] 12 months. This may require us to consider moving into a wider range of activities, possibly into different industries and also different countries, but we definitely see such growth as both a challenge and an opportunity.”
35. Marcus Truscott, managing director, Multiplex
Although he has only been the managing director of Multiplex for two years, Marcus Truscott has been with the company for 15 years, having previously served as director and general manager.
Headquartered in Australia, Multiplex has offices in the UAE and has worked on high-profile projects in the country, one of which is the Emirates Towers. In Q1 2016, the company, formerly called Brookfield Multiplex, announced that it was dropping Brookfield from its name, but would remain under the ownership of Brookfield Business Partners.
In a statement it released about the name change, the company explained: “This is a time for us to rebrand and to ensure our own unique construction identity, both within the Brookfield group and with our external stakeholders as a global construction business.”
36. Abdulla Lahej, CEO, Dubai Properties
As chief executive officer of Dubai Properties, Abdulla Lahej has enjoyed a fruitful 12 months. During the past year, the UAE-headquartered real estate developer has launched a string of projects, including Bellevue Tower 2, and Phases 1 and 2 of VillaNova. Lahej’s team has also achieved a series of construction-related milestones during this period, including the commencement of work on Marasi Business Bay’s marina. Located on Dubai Water Canal, the $272m (AED1bn) Marasi Business Bay megaproject will feature water homes and floating restaurants, among other amenities, upon completion. In 2016, Lahej and his colleagues successfully handed over more than 3,000 units.
37. SN Subrahmanyan, deputy managing director and president, Larsen & Toubro
In addition to being the deputy managing director and president of Larsen & Toubro (L&T), SN Subrahmanyan is the head of its construction business and vice chairman on the boards of L&T Infotech Limited and L&T Technology Services, as well as holding other roles within the company.
Under his leadership, L&T succeeded in bagging two major contracts in the GCC last year. The first was a $93.1m deal to build a regional airport in Oman. The scope of work covers the construction of a passenger terminal building, a cargo facility, and service buildings, as well as the installation of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) equipment.
The second contract, worth more than $1bn (SAR3.7bn), was awarded by Saudi Aramco to L&T and Emas AMC, for the expansion of its Hasbah sour gas field.
38. Yousef Bin Abdullah Al-Shelash, Chairman, Dar Al-Arkan
The first half of 2017 has been an eventful one for Yousef Bin Abdullah Al-Shelash. As the chairman of Dal Al-Arkan, the largest listed real estate company on the Saudi stock market, he oversaw the appointment of the company’s new chief executive officer, Damac Properties’ former managing director, Ziad El Chaar.
In addition to welcoming a new chief, the developer launched the sale of residential villas at its Parisiana Living project in Riyadh. According to the company, the project is inspired by the Parisian lifestyle, which promotes walkability, cultural communication, and interaction in public places”.
“The launch of Parisiana Living villas comes in line with Dar Al-Arkan’s approach to providing the kingdom’s real estate market with high-quality, ready-made housing units,” Al-Shelash said.
39. Mark Andrews, managing director, Laing O’Rourke
Last year’s highest new entry, at 58, Laing O’Rourke’s managing director has climbed nearly 20 spots on this year’s list. With Mark Andrews at the helm of its business activities in the
Middle East, the UK-based construction company was awarded the contract to build a retail and hospitality project comprising two hotels and a shopping mall that spans more than 200,000m2. The development, which is being built as part of the Expo 2020 Dubai South masterplan, is a joint venture between Dubai World Trade Centre and Emaar Properties.
“It’s very exciting to be named preferred bidder for the new retail and hospitality development, as it will be one of the main lifestyle hubs in the heart of one of the largest developments in the Middle East,” said Andrews, adding: “The masterplan for Dubai South is impressive, and we look forward to working alongside the client and all stakeholders to ensure this project is delivered to the highest quality.”
40. Richard Beard, managing director, Ramboll Middle East and Asia
In December 2016, Richard Beard’s areas of responsibility grew to include India and Singapore; hence, his title was expanded to managing director of Ramboll Middle East and Asia.
The expansion of his remit was not the only positive development in the company. According to Ramboll, its activity level in 2016 was “generally high”, resulting in an operating profit – in the Middle East and before interest, taxes, and amortisation – of $43.9m, which is nearly half of its global revenue of $1.6bn.
Explaining that low oil prices had affected Ramboll’s oil and gas business, Beard said that its Middle East revenue for 2017 is projected to be less than in 2016. He noted, however, that the company is currently involved in several projects, one being the Innovation Hub project in the UAE.
“Dubai Internet City’s Innovation Hub strategy and initiatives focus on building innovation centres, creative spaces, high-tech laboratories, smart buildings, and establishments that will stimulate innovation,” Beard said, adding: “Phase 1 of the project will be delivered in 2017.”
For the Innovation Hub project, Ramboll is providing multidisciplinary services, including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP), structural engineering, fire and life safety, waste management, acoustics, and site supervision.
Ramboll has also been appointed to undertake the MEP and sustainability design services for Jumeirah Gate, a twin-tower, mixed-use development in Dubai Marina that will be operated under the Address brand.
Another Dubai project that Ramboll has signed on to is the SRG Tower, which is expected to be the world’s tallest residential tower upon completion. The company has been appointed to provide façade design and engineering, as well as structural engineering services.