By Zoe Naylor
Nowhere in the world is the demand for steel products higher. The Middle East construction boom has led to unprecedented levels of consumption in recent years, and this is set to continue. Datuk Nathan, group managing director of Eversendai, speculates on the success of structural steel engineering, which he says, boasts a confident future in Dubai.
|~|102int200.gif|~|Datuk Nathan believes that while steel prices have stabilised, the unpredictability of oil prices in today’s market will be a controlling factor.|~|What is the background of Eversendai?
Formed in Malaysia in 1984, Eversendai is a specialist structural steel contractor. We undertake structural design, fabrication and erection works.
We also undertake projects for high-rise buildings, bridge construction, industrial plants and roof structures for projects such as stadia and airports. We have also moved into mechanical plant erection works.
Where have you carried out work in the Middle East?
We have worked all over the region, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE.
Our head office is in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, and we have branches in Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Qatar and Dubai.
What was your first project in the region?
The Burj Al Arab in 1995. We were the main contractor for the steel assembly and erection of the structure.
What projects are you currently working on in the UAE?
The Rose Rotana on Sheikh Zayed Road — we have undertaken the structural connection design, the steel fabrication, and the erection of the 72-storey tower. We’ve been working on the project for the last eight months and it’s due for completion in September 2006.
We’re undertaking work at Dubai Festival City; we’re doing structural steel for the roof at Dubai Mall, including the fabrication and erection.
We’re also working on the Al Mas tower at Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) and The Gate at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
Is Eversendai making inroads into the Qatari construction market?
Qatar is a growing market for us. We recently completed working on the Khalifa stadium in Qatar, which will be one of the main stadia used for the Asian Games in Doha next year. Eversendai was involved in the structural design, fabrication and erection work.
We’re also working on the Qatar Science and Technology Park in Doha, and have just been awarded the structural connection design and the fabrication and erection work for the Qatar National Library.
The key to this project is the erection methodology — it’s a complex structure that requires innovative methods in order to erect the steel. The design is cantilevered and hanging up in the air — it’s not easy to put up this kind of structure.
What are Eversendai’s strengths?
One is our engineering capability. We have a number of strengths in the field of engineering and erection methodologies. We always come up with innovative ways of putting up steel and in the last 20 years there’s no project on which we have been delayed. We get the job done on time and we don’t compromise on quality and safety.
Where is the manufacturing carried out?
As Dubai is our head office for the region, all the work we execute in the Middle East is carried out here in Dubai.
Our factory has a 24 000-tonne capacity per annum, and we are also currently establishing an US $6.8 million (AED25 million) plant at the Hamriyah Free Zone in Sharjah.
This will be a massive fabrication plant (approximately
60 000m2) and will be able to produce 60 000 tonnes of steel per year. The foundation work has started and we should complete it by the end of January 2006. It should be operational by February.
In total, this should bring our production capacity to around 80 000 tonnes.
We are also setting up a fabrication plant in Qatar. We’re currently in the process of acquiring the land for it and we expect to start the project in the next six to eight months.
The company is really booming now — we have the capability and the capacity to execute any kind of project in this part of the world.
Do you have plans for expansion?
Dubai will be the base from where we will fabricate and transport materials to any other regional country. We will project manage out of our Dubai office.
How stable are steel prices at the moment?
The demand from China really hiked up the prices at one
time, but now I think it’s very much stabilised. But you never know what’s going to happen next year with the price of oil.
Where do you see the geographical demand for steel coming from in the next two years?
I think the Middle East market will have the biggest consumption for the next couple of years. The amount of development that is going to take place in the region is going to be huge.
The biggest development will be in Dubai — I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world with this level of construction activity.
The country is growing at such a speed and seems able
to maintain it. I don’t see this changing over the next couple of years. ||**||