The Business Year

Steven Humphrey

Director, AECOM

The Qatari construction sector has vast potential. Here in Qatar, very few projects were halted for financial reasons as a result of the crisis; the market has been left relatively untouched. There is demand for villas, residential tower blocks, and commercial office space. Qatar is a highly domesticated market in the sense that the entire structure of business here is geared toward people that are set-up or established in this country, rather than people who fly in and fly out. The primary challenges are based around the body of work required to be executed over the next five to 10 years, and whether that can be achieved given the finite amount of resources and level of constraint in the market. Over the next 12 months, we will see significant bidding for a limited volume of projects.

Mohammed Tala Aal-Al Msheikh Al Asiri

CEO, Al Tala Companies Enterprise

I believe that the bulk part of the major construction projects here in Doha city will be completed. However, Qatar is going to face an increasing infrastructure need in order to develop other areas such as Al Khor, Al Waqra, Medinat Shimal, and Al Dukhan. the construction industry is set to remain on a growth trend for the next 10 years, at the very minimum. Since Qatar became a major business destination, we have decided to look for investment opportunities and expand our business. New companies are coming to Doha daily, attracted by its rapid development and stable market. We would like to feature in the development of Qatar, not only in construction, but also in areas such as transportation and the services sector.

Turgut Dizdaroğlu

Regional Director, Turgut Dizdaroğlu

In general, setting up a business in Qatar is quite difficult for foreign companies because, even though the potential of winning business is there, one has to overcome many bureaucratic hurdles, and the rules change all the time. If you want to win a project in Qatar, you have to invest in not only the office, but also in people and costs, and be ready for the fact that you will not be able to win anything for at least one year. This requires a huge investment, often upwards of $1 million. We formally entered the Qatari market in 1999, and many years before this we had conducted a feasibility study here to see whether we could produce cement. We have been successful, having completed $1.2 billion worth of projects in Qatar—nine projects in total. We expect 2014 to be a great year for the Qatari construction sector.

Erhan Ekermen

CEO, Promer Qatar

Entering the Qatari market is difficult; if you are a brand name, it is easier. However, for less established firms, it can be challenging. Employers here value security highly, and prefer to pay more for a contractor with a record in the market, rather than opt for a cheaper alternative with no experience in Qatar. We have the capacity, and use it effectively, efficiently, and profitably. We do not want to exceed our capacity, because I don’t believe that signing onto 20 jobs from every country is effective. Nonetheless, we are expecting a boom in Qatar, and feel that our possibilities here and in the UAE and Oman will prove sufficient.

Cameron Gillanders

Operating Center Manager, GHD

Currently, the market is promising more than it is delivering. We are still waiting to see many upcoming infrastructure, property, and building commitments. The most important milestone coming up will be the awarding of the Doha Metro contracts. The first pressure point will be the supply chain, and keeping goods, labor, and materials flowing through to work phases. It is possible that the capital supply chain will find it difficult to cope; even now most players in the infrastructure or property market here are finding the cash flow slow. GHD has been involved in some of the major building developments in Qatar, such as the old and new airports, Khalifa Stadium, and various hotels and highrises.

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