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Khuram Muradov

KAZAKHSTAN - Real Estate & Construction

Go East

President, Prime Group Holding Company


Khuram Muradov has more than 40 years of experience in the transportation and logistics industry. He has come a long way from being a construction foreman to becoming the president of a holding company. In the last five years, he has made a substantial contribution to a number of railway construction projects in Kazakhstan. Muradov is a doctor of engineering science and is a member of the International Transport Academy. In 2014, he was awarded the national Order of Honor, among several other notable awards. He has published over 30 scientific articles.

TBY talks to Khuram Muradov, President of Prime Group Holding Company, on the company's decision to consolidate operations, branching out overseas, and opportunities within the new Silk Road project.

What was the reason for bringing several companies under the umbrella of Prime Group?

Our key business elements have been in operation for a long time, some of them for around 50 years. Over the past 20 years, key companies have evolved and smaller SMEs that operate in different segments of the economy were set up to support our major operation areas. Each company had its own supervisory board and board of directors; however, it was impossible for the smaller companies to develop on their own. Our shareholders had to put in a great deal of effort to coordinate the activities of each of the companies. A consolidation of the resources of all companies was required to work with second-level banks and various financial institutions, including international ones, to achieve a common goal. We assessed the advantages and disadvantages of creating a group and eventually went for it. We identified key development strategies based on equities of the companies, their HR potential, and available assets. Prime Group primarily focuses on infrastructure projects in transport, including roads, sea transport, railway transport, and possibly pipelines.

What is your strategy to bring the company to the market?

The first step is to conduct audits and assess the HR, engineering, and financial potential of each company in the group. The next step is to establish a development strategy for every entity and come up with a joint development strategy for 11-12 companies. We will have two to three strategic areas to develop. One of them will be construction in transport, where we plan to compete with other companies across CIS. We want to enter international markets and find a niche there, and to actively participate in transit logistic operations worldwide. We are preparing to embrace international projects and are tailoring our development strategy by considering entering international markets. We established a subsidiary company in Russia, Serbia, and Morocco, set up a joint venture in Bulgaria, and launched a branch in Italy. We bid for contracts in Eastern Europe, the UAE, and Afghanistan. We are also studying opportunities in Algeria and Tunisia. We are considering establishing service companies within the holding to provide technical maintenance to existing roads and railways, including those overseas. In countries where railway transport is at the early stages of its development, such as the UAE and Afghanistan, there is a need for a complex build, operate, and transfer (BOT) approach from design and construction to commissioning and maintenance. Companies that can provide such a set of services will definitely benefit in such markets.

How much of your strategy is based on the New Silk Road project?

The development of the New Silk Road project is an initiative by China that was widely supported in neighboring countries. New Silk Road infrastructure in Kazakhstan has been largely completed and includes a fully revamped road connecting Western China with Western Europe, with works set to be completed in 2018. As for a railway network to support the initiative, there are two new border checkpoints commissioned. In 2019, our company will finish construction of second seaport at Kuryk that will handle increasing amount of transit freight from Asia to Europe via the Silk Way. That will be done through Kuryk, Baku, Tbilisi, and the Black Sea. However, our vision of the New Silk Road extends far beyond Kazakhstan. Looking at the Balkans, for example, we studied opportunities in Bosnia, Macedonia, and Croatia, and eventually came across privatization in Serbia that we took part in. This way we created a base of operations across Eastern Europe in Novi Sad (Serbia), which is a fully operational company with 300 employees. It is the only company in the former Yugoslavia that has a full set of mechanisms, talent, and technical base for construction and maintenance railway tracks. There is no single company similar to this in Bosnia, Croatia, or Macedonia. With the acquisition of this company, we gained access to the regional market.



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