By Claire Ferris-Lay
Abu Dhabi-based firm will grow 4-5 percent following revamp plans, says COO, eyes deals in Saudi, Qatar
Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group expects to see little growth next year as it looks
to consolidate its businesses internally, its COO has told Arabian Business.
group, one of the biggest contracting firms in the Gulf, is forecasting a four
to five percent rise next year as internal restructuring crimps growth.
won’t see big growth in 2011, [around] 4-5 percent compared to 2010,” said
Fatima Al Jaber, COO. “In 2011 we’re looking at consolidating some of our
businesses internally [and] looking into reevaluating our resources one way or
Jaber said the firm’s building subsidiary, Al Jaber Building, will be involved
in the restructuring but declined to give further details.
think we’ll be more focused on ensuring that our resourcing policy is cost
effective,” she said.
contractors have been hit hard by Dubai’s real estate sector slump, which has
seen property prices decline by 50 percent. But Al Jaber said the company’s
diversified portfolio, which includes heavy lifting and industrial operations
in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, helped it weather the downturn. “Our
diversity helped us to really survive the crisis,” she said.
group, which employs more than 50,000 staff, plans to expand its operations in
Saudi Arabia but is struggling to get around the kingdom’s strict visa policy,
said Al Jaber.
Arabia’s construction market is set to eclipse the UAE as the largest in the
MENA region, with a total of $322.9bn of planned projects. But many contractors
are struggling with the red tape associated with operating in Saudi, a Merrill
Lynch report released in October said.
Arabia has always been a strategic market. But we’ve been really evaluating
this because….there are a lot of constraints on the transport of labourers
between the UAE and Saudi. It’s very difficult to move them directly,” she
said. “The logistical issues need to be looked at.”
firm also sees potential for growth in Qatar, which this month won the bid to
host the 2022 World Cup, and has been invited to bid for a contract in Algeria.