The Business Year

Dr. Ahmad Al Khayyat

CEO, Fujairah Building Industries (FBI)

Sami Baghdadi

Managing Director, Fujairah National Group (FNG)

Construction groups are building more than just physical structures; they are linking companies, stakeholders, and industries throughout Fujairah.

How do you structure such a diversified company?

DR. AHMAD AL KHAYYAT Many of our subsidiaries are leaders in the market in terms of their presence and the products they have introduced. Our lines of business are mineral-based conversion industries. We process mineral resources into final products, which are primarily sold to the building and construction sector. Our flagship company is Fujairah Rockwool, which produces mineral wool. This is mainly used for insulation and soundproofing. Rock wool has become a very popular product because it is more fire resistant than many other insulation products that are available on the market. The market has started to adopt these in light of issues with fires and so forth. Our quarries are operated through the Fujairah National Quarry Company, which produces and feeds supplies into the various manufacturing industries that also fall under our umbrella. We also have the Fujairah Marble and Tiles Company, based in the Dibba Industrial Area, which has fully integrated lines for cutting and polishing marble and granite. We see a lot of opportunities for our companies to develop what we already have as producing entities, but also for us to look at new opportunities that come from the changing building sustainability standards in the UAE. It is within our plan to expand our business into other products and services within the construction sector.

SAMI BAGHDADI In the early years, FNG was highly centralized, and decisions were made at the head office. While this was very effective in the early years, as the number of companies grew to over 40, we had to adjust our management structure. The companies were distributed among the group’s three Managing Directors for closer supervision, and the CEOs and General Managers were given greater authority to make decisions based on each company’s specific requirements. The Managing Directors are members of the group’s Board of Directors, which is headed by our Chairman and includes his three sons, who are vice chairmen of the group. Each of them directly oversees several subsidiary companies. As we grew, we saw the need to improve our methods of sharing information and have since converted to integrated solutions that allow the different branches of FNG to cooperate, collaborate, and function efficiently.

What opportunities are you pursuing for growth and development?

AAK We need to work on developing new products that are sustainable in terms of energy use and the environment, as well as being more cost effective for the developers. We are interacting with the developers, contractors, and various consultants to come up with new products and building systems for them. This represents a broader move from a position where we are producing and marketing a product, to the position of selling and delivering a solution. This is where a lot of effort and innovation comes in. It is about developing the relationship with your client and the industry, and identifying how you can help them. Years ago, you had to come up with new products that impressed the industry, while now it is about offering your clients incremental improvements. It is becoming as much a service-based industry as a product-based one.

SB We are building our relationship with the Department of Industry and Economy, and Fujairah Chamber. There are a lot of common interests between FNG and the Department of Industry as we are both working to benefit the Emirate of Fujairah. We also have a strong, long-standing relationship with the Chamber of Commerce. In 1984, I was delegated by the group to manage the execution phase of Fujairah Rock and Aggregate Co., the biggest quarry and aggregate crushing plant in Fujairah, belonging to the Department of Industry and Economy. The aggregate was loaded from the crusher directly onto ships in the Port of Fujairah by a conveyor belt passing through a tunnel. Our relationships are evidence of the group’s desire to fulfill the needs of the Emirate, such as the need for healthcare and education. By building hospitals and schools, and working with local government entities, we have encouraged further investments to be made by the private sector in schools, hospitals, and hotels. We are now working to expand our services. We will build another hospital in Dibba, which will also offer online services. By the end of the year, we will start building a third school. The outlook is very positive as we are working to catch up with the huge, constantly growing demand for healthcare and education.



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