TBY talks to Kambiz Salehi, Managing Director of SEKAF Technical & Construction Company, on current projects, foreign partnerships, and future activities.

Kambiz Salehi
Kambiz Salehi is the Managing Director of SEKAF Technical & Construction Company. He was born in 1963 in Esfahan. His first position in the company was at the age of 18, when his father was the Managing Director. He studied and worked at the same time and received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1990. He became Managing Director in 1994. Under his leadership, SEKAF has grown during the past 23 years to become one of the most well-known construction companies in Iran with a diversified portfolio of activities.

To what do you attribute the successful transition of SEKAF from a small family business to the diversified holding it is today?

Our success is based on our commitment to quality and on-time delivery to our clients. Customer satisfaction is a crucial focus for us. We also consider every employee a member of the family. We trust them and expect that this is mutual. Customer satisfaction, transparency, and the relationship between personnel and management are the main pillars of our continued success. After the end of the Iran-Iraq War, there was a high demand for the construction of new buildings. SEKAF's policy was to diversify, so that if one sector of the economy faced problems, the company could profit from other sectors, allowing the company to grow continuously.

What are the main projects in which SEKAF is involved at the moment?

SEKAF has three departments, namely energy, road and railways, and buildings. In the oil and gas industry, we have two EPC contracts in gas compressor stations. Next to this, we work on the refinery and polishing system in the Kangan area. To the southeast of Iran, we will build a 75-km, 36-in pipeline in the second part of 2017. We are constructing a 110-km railway project from Tehran to a nearby city called Varamin. This project is important to the country. We are also constructing the Shiraz Metro and a 25-km highway in a hilly area near the city of Kerman. In our building department, we are working on a business mall with 65,000sqm in the Pasdaran area. We are building the Tajrish Police Station and 1,456 flats in Karaj. This project consists of four phases. In each phase we construct seven buildings, and each building has 52 apartments. Our strategy is to get involved with projects that are of strategic importance to the country.

What is your strategy for reaching foreign companies to partner with?

It is in the mutual interest of foreign and domestic companies to close partnerships. Companies entering Iran need a local partner that knows the rules and regulations, and understands the business environment in Iran. At the same time, we are looking for new knowledge, innovation, and management systems, with which foreign companies can help us. Foreign companies choose to partner with SEKAF because we are trustworthy and transparent. We understand the nature of partnership. Our experience in different industries demonstrates our capabilities. We have, therefore, been collaborating for over a year with a company named Ferramedia. It is an organization that creates cross-functional enterprises of several kinds of businesses worldwide. It manages the full cycle of a project, from inception and funding all the way to the final execution with the support of a strong community of private and institutional partners. Ferramedia is helping SEKAF to develop the Iranian market and is bringing in Italian companies and expertise in the fields of railways, renewable energy, and food and beverages. Also, we are currently in touch with Japanese and South Korean companies that want us as their construction partner. We are also negotiating with an Italian company for gas-related services.

Are you looking to further diversify your portfolio of activities?

We are already present in many sectors. Within the oil and gas industry, our activities include pipelines, refineries, and gas compressor stations. On top of that, we construct roads, rails, metros, and buildings. Recently, we have been looking to enter the clean energy industry, in partnership with the Italian company SITA. We are particularly interested in solar and wind energy. Also, we would like to expand to water projects, as herein lies one of the biggest challenges for the future of Iran.