The Business Year

Bader Bin Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Hammad

SAUDI ARABIA - Finance

On Record

CEO & Managing Director, Maceen Capital

Bio

Bader Bin Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Hammad was born in 1975 and began his career at Merrill Lynch Corporation in 1995. In 2001, he became General Manager of Investment at Hammad Holding, a position he held until 2004, when he became CEO. In 2010, he became Chairman. In addition to this position, he is CEO and Managing Director of Maceen Capital and a board member of numerous affiliated companies.

When you started in 2010, was part of your strategy to capitalize on the difficult time many markets were having? External conditions were not the only reason we started so […]

When you started in 2010, was part of your strategy to capitalize on the difficult time many markets were having?

External conditions were not the only reason we started so steadily and continued to grow. On the other hand, the Saudi market, since the founding of Maceen Capital, has experienced steady growth and continuous expansion, which was of great benefit and had a positive influence on our business and services. The conditions of the global crisis were nothing but an opportunity for the international markets to improve performance and avoid past mistakes, and we at Maceen Capital take into account the needs of the market and its requirements in the long run. Our competitive advantage was, and still is, our knowledge of the Saudi market; knowing that, we were able to seize opportunities as they arose, whether from real estate, debt capital markets, or private equity. We at Maceen have invested in all of these sectors, but our major investment was in the real estate sector as we developed 14 real estate funds.

How do you anticipate the effects of foreign investment regulations on the market?

Knowing that foreign investment has its merits and disadvantages in any given economy, the relevant authorities must take into account the methodologies of the local market, which does not accept changes easily, and, at the same time, must take into account the value-added of foreign investment in the market. From our experience, foreign investors fail to compete with local market players because legislation does not take into consideration the conditions and investment environment for each party. Therefore, I think it will be a major task for the parties in the relevant legislation, regulation, and justice systems to ensure the highest standards of business ethics in global business.

How are labor reforms affecting infrastructure projects, construction firms, and real estate developments?

There are certainly some delays in the completion of projects that are under process, but there are no doubts that they will be finished. We are facing some issues related to land development due to governmental rules and restrictions, since it might take up to a year and a half to receive permission to develop land. If we can diminish this period, it will definitely have a positive effect on the residential and housing industry compared to other industries and parties. I think that the new legislation with regard to the labor laws in Saudi Arabia is positive, leading the market to improve the working environment to attract more of the most efficient and serious workers. In normal conditions, authorities face resistance to changes in legislation, but as we have witnessed so far the business community quickly accepted it and returned to work with full force.

Which sectors and investments appear the most promising over the coming two to five years?

The Saudi market is a promising market for all sectors and industries, because it is in fact an emerging market and we at Maceen will be focusing on private equity, as this is a large and untapped opportunity. Private equity is a major driver in the growth of the economy, and will even affect the capital markets in Saudi Arabia. Some of the most successful stories originate from a venture capitalist investing in private equity and entering the capital markets. There are a number of institutions today, such as King Saud University (KSU) and Silicon Valley in Riyadh, which incubate these entrepreneurs. The cement sector is also very promising. A royal decree has approved the participation of the cement sector in the capital markets, and this process has to follow a methodology that requires them to be established as venture capital, and that transition should take place through investment banks or companies specialized in fund management. The Saudi market is a promising market for all sectors and industries. However, I think the most influential industries are petrochemicals, cement, imports, construction and real estate development, administrative advisory services, tourism and hospitality, telecommunications, financial services, and investment banking.

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