Payment concerns stall ASGC’s Saudi expansion plan

Bishoy Azmy, CEO of the Dubai-based contractor, expresses concern over timely payments

PHOTO: Bishoy Azmy said contractors in Saudi Arabia “face challenges receiving payments, more so towards the latter half of projects”. Credit: Supplied

Concerns over prompt payments are holding back Al Shafar General Contracting’s (ASGC) expansion plan in Saudi Arabia, the CEO of the Dubai-based company said in an exclusive interview.

Bishoy Azmy said that while his company had been eyeing opportunities in the kingdom, serious reservations over the ability of contractors to receive payments on time had stalled any decisions.

Payments are the biggest challenge for ASGC in entering the Saudi market, Azmy told Big Project ME magazine.

“Our understanding, based on numerous discussions and intelligence, is that contractors face challenges receiving payments, more so towards the latter half of projects,” he said.

“We’ve always said that the Saudi market is the market we’d like to expand to beyond the UAE, but we feel that it is very, very challenging. So we’re waiting to see what happens with Saudi Arabia over the next period. It may be a year or two before we decide that we can successfully enter it.”

Azmy added that there remain plenty of opportunities in the UAE market to keep ASGC busy over the coming year, pointing out the success the contractor had in 2015 as an indicator.

“The UAE has been a good market in 2015. The significant projects that were announced throughout the year have been allowed to continue and there’s been significant execution and prompt payments. Maybe some projects that were supposed to begin have been delayed, but this is natural. I think 2015 has been a good year for the UAE [construction market],” Azmy said.

“Our hope is that we continue to see growth in 2016; at ASGC, we’re setting ourselves a target of double-digit growth for the year.”


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