Qatar, Saudi to drive GCC construction growth

Deloitte predicts 'tremendous opportunities' for builders despite project delays
Qatar, Saudi to drive GCC construction growth
GCC construction, Middle East construction
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 25 May 2012 09:51 AM

Major opportunities still exist in GCC construction markets despite continuing delivery issues related to current projects, Deloitte said on Wednesday.

In a new report, it said opportunities remained prevalent in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Iraq in 2012.

The Deloitte construction industry report also indicated that longer term infrastructure investment plans for the region are estimated to be worth in excess of $1trn.

Key findings in the Deloitte report indicated that large infrastructure projects, particularly around social and transport infrastructure, will offer "tremendous opportunities" for contractors.

Upstream and downstream oil and gas related developments in the coming years will also bring benefits to contractors, Deloitte said.

The Deloitte report said that there is "imminent growth" in the Saudi Arabian construction industry, being the biggest market in the GCC in terms of population and GDP.

The government is undertaking grand investments, with plans nearing $400bn in five years, including schools, hospitals, universities, houses, airport expansions, and new railway infrastructure and road improvements.

The report classified Qatar as the fastest growing economy in the GCC region and holding an eight percent share of the total value of the regional projects.

Projects planned to be underway in Qatar in the future are valued at approximately $230bn with the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup positioned to be a truly major enabling event for the future development of the country, Deloitte said.

Deloitte added that despite the regional unrest and the public slowdown of projects in Abu Dhabi in 2011, the UAE has "demonstrated some key elements of stability".

Rizwan Shah, managing director, Corporate Finance, and leader of Deloitte's Capital Projects Advisory Services practice for the Middle East, said: "What primarily differentiates participants in the GCC's construction industry from their Western counterparts is that grand opportunities continue to be capitalised upon across the region, despite being forced to deal with continuing negative financial circumstances - simultaneously - in specific locales."

The Deloitte report is produced based on data gathered from surveys and internal data, supported by interviews with some of the most prominent industry leaders from the region.

"The region certainly is expected to continue to offer a lot of opportunity for contractors," added Cynthia Corby, audit partner Deloitte Middle East and leader of the construction industry for the UAE, added.

In terms of projects in the pipeline across the Middle East, the majority are social (36 percent), 29 percent power-related, 13 percent in transport and 13 percent in oil and gas, the report said.

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