Jun. 25, 2014


Azad Ibrahimov

Azerbaijan

Azad Ibrahimov

General Director, Ant Group

BIO

Azad Ibrahimov was born in 1962 and graduated from the Moscow Energy Institute and the International Academy of Sciences in San Marino. He is currently the President of the Ant Group of Companies. He has many years of experience in the finance sector, previously having worked at Azerneqliyyatbank, Amal, and Aydinbank.

What projects has Ant Group completed in 2013, and what are you currently working on?

Our projects in 2013 were a continuation of our regular work. We have registered a certain degree of progress in the construction industry in the private sector, and also with certain state projects. One of the planned projects involves the construction of a shopping center near the international bus station in Baku. And among our completed projects I would highlight the opening of our branch in Georgia, where we have commenced work on a highway project.

In a previous interview, you said there was a lack of competent experts in Azerbaijan's construction sector. How does Ant Group contribute to solving this problem?

The staff deficit is quite a normal phenomenon. And while there are numerous experts, demand exceeds supply. When undertaking projects involving a large volume of work, we often host experts from abroad to exchange experience, which is crucial for us. We do not have the facilities to provide on-the-job training in house, but employ young graduates and train them instead. Many companies avoid such practices, and we are proud of our track record. Indeed, many of those we train are today working at other larger companies.

Ilham Aliyev was re-elected as President in 2013. What changes do you expect during this new term, particularly for the construction sector?

The world is well aware of the pace of economic development in Azerbaijan, which is largely a result of the government's balanced policy. The driving force in the country is the continuous improvement in the welfare of the people, which is reflected in the high activity witnessed in the construction industry. Over the past decade, there have been noticeable changes in construction in Baku in particular, where living conditions have improved. For 2014 and beyond, the pace will only pick up, underpinned by numerous factors, the most important of which is the solid financial conditions of the population, which determines housing demand. Urban infrastructure is being implemented, new settlements are under construction, and new land is being primed for development.

What are your plans for 2014?

We are builders, so for us there is no real preference in terms of what to construct; we essentially pursue profitable projects. Being builders, however, we have not focused to the same extent on the commercial side of real estate sales. We have many plans, which include the development of housing complexes with a fresh offering. And as of 2014, we will start building furnished apartments boasting modern facilities to the exacting international standards that our clients expect. We plan to build 18- to 20-story residential blocks on an area of approximately 100,000 sqm of land. Two factors we have decided on are to provide housing featuring sufficient parking space, and apartments that are already furnished so that the client merely needs to move in. We also produce furniture that is offered to clients optionally. To my thinking, this approach is less innovative, but rather essential in today's market. While housing construction is our first priority, we also participate in tenders for state projects, having secured a large volume of multi-dimensional work. For 2014, we plan to participate in many more tenders.

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