As a holding company with diversified exposure in the UAE, how do you characterize Horizon Energy's role in the local market?
We are a holding company; yet, we are a family office. Our model is simple: we want growth and to be able to market that growth. We invest in companies that meet our criteria, whether it is a start-up, a green field project, or a company that has the know-how and management in place but is also looking for growth, marketing, human, or financial resources. We also support businesses by removing the barriers and challenges they face, which could be in the industry or any issues that are related to that business. We only invest with people who know their business, are committed, and who are entrepreneurs wanting to do something for themselves. If these elements exist within the staff or the company, then we invest with them. This is our business model. We invest our time, money, and effort heavily, which is what differentiates us.
What is your main strategy when it comes to investing in different sectors?
There are certain business areas we focus on. Our main focus is oil and gas, followed by heavy industry, manufacturing, and the marine sector. We seek niche products or if we see a service company with potential we will invest in that too. One example is vMonitor; we invested in it, and grew it from being a local company, to a regional company, and now it is on the international stage. We invest in companies that are related to engineering, fabrication, and technology. We are not the executives of any business, and we do not invest 100%. We support the oil and gas business in Abu Dhabi by identifying local companies that have limited resources. We take them to a higher level than where they were, allowing them to compete on par with international players and qualify in the oil and gas sector, which is highly competitive. We try and put them in a position where they can perform a quality job in a timely fashion and within budget. IOCs have been in Abu Dhabi for the past 75 years, and have been instrumental in the sector; however, ADNOC has been and still is a major protector of the interests of Abu Dhabi. That is important to us as well. We want to apply the latest technology to meet the interests of Abu Dhabi and recover the maximum capacity of our reservoirs. The trend is in technologies and increased productivity because costs are increasing. Companies with effective technologies reduce operating costs and increase project competence. The way forward is automation and efficiency. These are the two areas that are extremely important to the client. We invest in the latest long-term sustainable technologies to achieve client satisfaction. Financial returns are important; however, sustainability is extremely important, which allows the returns to be sustainable as well.
Abu Dhabi is a key player in the global energy industry. What role do you think Abu Dhabi plays in regard to innovation and human capital development in the sector?
Abu Dhabi is contributing to innovation through universities and petroleum institutions, and through the training of technicians to cope with the new automation systems being applied here. The oil industry in Abu Dhabi has done a fantastic job training young men and women in applying the latest technologies in the oil and gas business. The Petroleum Institute is unique in the way it prepares people in fields of petroleum engineering to chemical engineering in support of the oil and gas business. We need to conduct more R&D in the UAE, because this will keep that knowledge within the country, and it will train Emiratis to innovate and be able to sustain industry, which is important.
What is the UAE's benefit if the foreign companies come, and they only employ their own nationals?
All local companies in Abu Dhabi need some kind of local content where they benefit and gain experience, know-how, and knowledge of technologies, and then transfer that knowledge. Through technology transfer, the participation of local employment, and know-how, we can grow our industry in Abu Dhabi, and export this to other regions as a model. We can do the same business in Oman and in the region. We do not want to be only consumers; we want to be an active player in our economy. That is only done through a model that creates an environment that supports these factors. I am an advocate for local content but also in making sure there are processes there to be an international player.