Arabtec expands into Iraqi market

Contracting giant looking at CEO and senior management candidates for new offices

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Arabtec Holding, the UAE based engineering and construction group of companies, has announced that it plans to open an office in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

The move comes as the company, which is known to specialise in complex projects in the Middle East and North Africa region, looks to capitalise on Iraq’s high potential, particularly in oil and gas and infrastructure.

“We see great potential for Arabtec in Iraq. Our physical presence there will enable us to capitalize on the significant new business opportunities that are available particularly in oil and gas and infrastructure. Launching our business in Iraq follows our recent expansion into the Balkan States, and achieves yet another significant step in our growth strategy,” said Hasan Abdullah Ismaik, managing director and CEO of Arabtec.

The opening of Arabtec’s office in Baghdad is to facilitate the company’s planned growth in the Iraqi market, he added.  The move is in line with the Company’s business growth strategy to diversify into higher-margin segments, particularly infrastructure and oil and gas.

Furthermore, the office will serve as a platform for expansion by Arabtec Holding’s joint ventures and subsidiaries, in what is expected to become the region’s most lucrative construction market.

Arabtec is already in advanced discussions with a number of clients in Iraq for large-scale projects in its target sectors, Ismaik added, along with talks with the Iraqi government.

“We are already in talks with the Iraqi Government over a number of mega projects. These talks are at an advanced stage and we hope to announce the results in the very near future.”

A major thrust behind Arabtec’s expansion into Iraq is to pave the way for its newly formed joint venture with Samsung Engineering and the soon to be announced joint venture with GS Engineering and Construction, which will tap into the huge potential of the Iraqi market.

Ismaik said that Arabtec has already begun looking for candidates for senior management posts in Iraq, including CEO candidates.

Iraq is showing strong signs of growth. The oil sector is benefitting from renewed investments and international oil companies have committed to long-term construction projects. According to MEED, Iraq earned a record $94bn from oil exports in 2012, accounting for more than 90 per cent of government revenue.

The growing oil revenues will play a vital role in financing the urgently needed redevelopment of the country’s infrastructure. With a growing population, Iraq also needs to invest heavily in housing with current estimates of housing needs ranging between one million and 3.5 million by 2015.

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