The Business Year

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While the UAE's construction market witnesses the usual downtrends, companies have learned to use technology and expansion into other markets as countermeasures.

Kamil Abu Ghanem

Owner and General Manager, Al Hashem Marble

We have undertaken many landmark projects such as the Louvre, Memorial Park, and Etihad Towers. In Abu Dhabi, 67% of income is generated from non-oil activities, and a major part of this percentage comes from companies, business, and trading. If we wish to see this further improve, we have to encourage companies to grow. To this end, we merged with Terra Viva, an Italian company that is involved in artifacts and traditional methods. Its major market is the US, and it shifted here from Italy and operates within Al Hashem to reduce costs. The merger is a success as we are distributing products to more than 25 showrooms in the US; we also have businesses in the UK and Germany. We have other expansion plans in place. At present, we are quoting projects in Saudi Arabia and working on two projects in Mecca, namely the Hilton and DoubleTree. These will be landmark projects for Mecca.

Elias Seraphim

CEO, Gulf Precast Concrete

The company’s first factory was established with six employees in 1984. At present, we have six factories, four in Abu Dhabi and two in Dubai. We are constructing another factory in the Khalifa Port Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), but it is currently on hold because of a downward trend in Abu Dhabi’s market and the company not getting the necessary approvals to run the factory in Kizad and ship to Dubai. Over the years, we have constructed many landmark buildings, including the 2,200-villa Al Falah Complex, 1,000 villas for the Emirati Housing Development, Jumeirah Beach Residence, six buildings in Downtown Burj Dubai, Dubai Mall, Abu Dhabi’s Presidential Palace, and Terminal Three at Abu Dhabi Airport. Our current projects are the Midfield Terminal and all the approaches for Abu Dhabi Airport. We operate in all the Emirates and in Saudi Arabia, where we are doing quite a big project in Mecca. Moreover, we have done some work in Qatar and Kuwait and are exploring the idea of expanding into Algeria, Nigeria, India, and Iran.

Sameer Dabbas

CEO, Sameer Dabbas

The construction business goes through cycles that last five years on average. At present, we are at the end of the cycle, meaning there will an uptrend in 2019. As a specialized industrial contractor, we see the region encouraging industry and foreign industrial investment. Most of our business lies in special economic zones such as the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi and Industrial City of Abu Dhabi, as well as in other Emirates’ zones such as Jebel Ali, Dubai Solar Park, and Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority. With oil prices stabilizing, we expect the overall situation to improve even more. In construction, 60-70% of our resources depend on human capacity, which is our main asset. It is important to us to manage well during downturns so that we can maximize our results during highturns. Steel is a cornerstone of our construction business, and we have developed other associated industries in the UAE, MENA, and Africa. Another important asset is technology, and we are integrating automation and enterprise resource planning, which is now essential for any company’s operations.



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