The Business Year

NESMA

SAUDI ARABIA - Real Estate & Construction

Samer Abdul Samad

CEO & President, Nesma & Partners Contracting Company

Bio

Samer Abdul Samad is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nesma & Partners. He joined the Company in 1994 as a site engineer. With his hard work and ambitious drive, he progressed his career steadily until he was promoted to Vice President of Public Works in 2016. In 2020, he was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer before his current appointment as President and CEO in 2021. During his previous roles, Samer was an indispensable member of the Operations Department, overseeing all construction and infrastructure projects at Nesma & Partners.
Since Samer became the President and CEO, he orchestrated many initiatives to solidify the company’s positioning as a leading contracting company in the Kingdom. In early 2022, Samer shared his strategy and vision for Nesma & Partners within the organization to build on the company’s 40 years of legacy as a proud Saudi company, operating nationwide, progressively, regionally, and internationally.

"As a contractor, our primary responsibility is to deliver on our commitments, playing a crucial role in achieving the Vision 2030 objectives."
TBY talks to Samer Abdul Samad, CEO & President of Nesma & Partners Contracting Company, about important partnerships, project delivery, and goals for the coming year.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced it will invest in several Saudi companies, including Nesma & Partners Contracting Company. What is the significance of this partnership?

When the PIF chose to invest in select companies, its objective was to promote growth and ensure robust support for these companies. The PIF have been extremely supportive, providing backing based on best practices, proper governance, and effective business approaches. This partnership ensures proper governance and the right engagement methods with related parties, enabling us to function efficiently. PIF’s investment reflects its expectation of continued development. We have consistently demonstrated growth and are well-positioned to contribute to the strategy being implemented for Vision 2030. Nesma & Partners Contracting Company, with over 40 years of sustainable operations, aligns with the highest global standards while harmonizing with the local community and environment. We are proud to partner with PIF, a collaboration that strengthens our position as a leading contracting company in Saudi Arabia and enhances our ability to contribute to the Vision 2030 objectives. Nesma & Partners was selected as one of the four Construction companies receiving PIF’s investment due to its successful track record in executing and managing complex, large-scale projects across various sectors and regions in Saudi Arabia. This partnership with PIF will bolster our operations and facilitate regional and international expansion and unlock the potential of the construction sector by scaling up capacity, expanding capabilities, and creating investment opportunities for the local private sector in current and future projects. This support will enhance the construction ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, fostering local capacity expansion and stimulating private sector participation and investment, which is in line with Vision 2030.

Partnerships are integral to Nesma & Partners’ strategy. How do they contribute to the company’s business model, particularly in terms of expertise, capacity, and project delivery?

As a contractor, our primary responsibility is to deliver on our commitments, playing a crucial role in achieving the Vision 2030 objectives. Our top priority is ensuring we fulfill our promises to our clients and partners. This involves delivering projects effectively, efficiently, and with the highest quality while prioritizing safety and supporting local content. These five key elements—timely delivery, efficiency, quality, safety, and local content—are essential to our success and have earned us recognition in the industry. In addition to these elements, our ability to build strong partnerships significantly enhances our capacity to deliver projects on time and successfully. In the fast-paced environment of construction, there are many complications. We are responsible for transforming a client’s concept into a fully realized project, which involves navigating the complexities of design, development, and delivery within tight timeframes. We need a cohesive, strong team and reliable partners committed to our delivery goals to manage this effectively. We currently have more than 43,000 employees, but organic growth has limitations. Therefore, we seek partners who can add capabilities and/or capacity. The challenge is finding the right partners with the right chemistry and culture alignment. We recently acquired Kent, an international giant in the energy sector, enabling us to leverage the strengths of both Nesma & Partners and Kent to deliver high-quality services across various industries. By combining our expertise and resources, we can create innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of our clients throughout the entire project lifecycle—from consulting to design, build, commissioning, and startup through to maintenance and decommissioning. We have also partnered with specialized companies for the Aramco Project and are bidding on key opportunities, including projects in NEOM and collaborations on the stadium projects. These strategic partnerships help us ensure that we can deliver on our promises and maintain our high standards.

Could you elaborate on the company’s plans for diversification and its potential involvement in the mining industry?

We have experience in the mining sector, having completed a successful project in Najran in partnership with a Chinese firm. This project resulted in the production of gold, silver, zinc, and copper. Additionally, we have executed many projects with Ma’aden, the Saudi Arabian Mining Company.
Given the upcoming opportunities in the mining sector, we must explore how we can contribute and add value as a key market player. The sector is poised for significant growth, and we believe we can play a substantial role in this initiative. We are currently in the exploration phase, engaging in discussions with various partners to assess the potential for reviving and enhancing our previous partnerships. This will be a key driver for our future involvement in the mining industry. Our goal is to ensure that we are well-positioned to capitalize on the burgeoning opportunities in the mining sector, leveraging our expertise and partnerships to deliver high-quality projects and drive the industry’s development.

Nesma & Partners has been actively involved in empowering local talent, as evidenced by initiatives like the Nesma High Training Institute (NHTI). How is NHTI contributing to nurturing Saudi youth and ensuring a skilled workforce?

We are extremely proud of NHTI, which we established in 2012. Initially focused on training our employees, NHTI has expanded its services to cater to other companies, providing a wide range of training programs. This expansion has allowed us to offer training in more areas, benefiting students and employees across various industries. We have also established a new training institute in NEOM that began operating in late 2022. This institute trains local talent from that region, including individuals from Tabuk, thereby boosting our local content and contributing to our active workforce. We anticipate reaching nearly 50,000 employees by the end of 2024. However, this rapid organic growth presents challenges. It is crucial for new employees to learn our company culture, understand our operations, and fully integrate into the organization. This process takes time and can be daunting. To address this, we are complementing our organic growth with strategic partnerships. While we currently have more than 43,000 employees, our projects often require 70,000-80,000 skilled workers. NHTI, combined with our strategic partnerships, helps us meet the demand for skilled labor and ensure we can continue delivering high-quality projects.

What other challenges do you face during your daily operations?

Construction will always have issues and minor changes. The supply chain is a challenge we see all over and is one of the major reasons for project delays. Another major challenge is resources. All Companies realize that what is available today is insufficient for what will come. In terms of solutions, one can partner with foreign entities that can add value. The second is to look into offsite construction, modular construction, prefabrication, skid style, or something similar, depending on the business line. Third, a company can partner with the right supply chain partners who arefully committed to meeting the project’s needs. Modular construction is slowly taking off, though I expect it to be a part of the solution moving forward. Modular construction does not only refer to houses. It can even be applied to the energy sector—pre-fabricating pipe racks and bringing them onsite results in immense manpower savings related to the site.

What are your main objectives for 2024?

We have set some ambitious growth targets for our company. To achieve these goals, we are exploring new potential acquisitions that will help us expand further. Additionally, we are considering entering into public-private partnerships (PPPs). While we have made the strategic decision to pursue PPPs, we are currently finalizing the details of how to participate. We plan to test our approach with an initial project soon and will build on that experience. To support these initiatives, we are already building the necessary organizational structure. This includes dedicated teams to handle mergers and acquisitions (M&As), both pre-and post-acquisition, and teams to manage PPPs, which is a new area for us. We believe that PPPs will be crucial for supporting and investing in the country’s infrastructure and will also positively impact the financial market.

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