MEP contractor to double turnover this year

Al Habtoor Specon boasts three major projects in Abu Dhabi

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Thrasos Thrasyvoulou, MD of specialist MEP contractor Al Habtor-Specon.
Thrasos Thrasyvoulou, MD of specialist MEP contractor Al Habtor-Specon.

Dubai-based MEP contractor Al Habtoor-Specon LLC will be doubling its turnover this year on the back of major projects in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, according to managing director Thrasos Thrasyvoulou.

“We are well on our way to becoming a company with a turnover of AED2 billion. We are still one of the few companies exhibiting strong growth and our current growth will be better than any other year, based on the projects in hand. So I can even say we will be doubling our turnover from last year to this year approximately,” commented Thrasyvoulou.

The company has clinched an US$100 million (AED350 million) MEP works contract for three major hotels in the central business district of Doha, Qatar, and started on-site in January 2009, with the hand-over scheduled for December 2009. Al Habtoor-Specon is responsible for all MEP and related systems, as well as the overall construction management.

Despite about 30% of the work having been completed already by a previous MEP contractor, which was unable to complete the project within an acceptable timeframe, Thrasyvoulou says the hand-over date poses a major challenge. However, he is confident that it is achievable. “We are here for the difficult things, and not to relax,” he stated.

“To achieve this ambitious timing, we have opted to employ sub-contractors in the area, which we manage. Thus we control the planning and ultimately the quality. We have committed about 700 of our own staff and workers, which will be ramped up to about 2,000 with the addition of the necessary sub-contractors,” the executive explained, adding that the project is on track and within schedule.

The company’s first flagship project in Abu Dhabi is a US$61 million (AED225 million) electro-mechanical contract for Sorbonne University, where the main turnkey contractors are Al Habtoor Engineering and Murray & Roberts. Al Habtoor-Specon LLC initiated its portion of the project in October 2008. The design phase was completed in March 2009, with hand-over of the first phase scheduled for end August 2009. This comprises 55% of the total contract.

The company’s second flagship contract in Abu Dhabi is the US$147 million (AED540 million) electro-mechanical contract at Sheikh Zayed University, in a joint venture with Australian company Hastie Limited. The project commenced in January 2009, with hand-over scheduled for end August 2011.

“The decision to partner with Hastie was a strategic one based on the state of the market in September 2008, when we were so busy we could not conceivably tackle such a mammoth project on our own. This is possibly the biggest MEP works contract in Abu Dhabi at present,” commented Thrasyvoulou.

The company is responsible for everything from electro-mechanical to air-con, fire-fighting, low-voltage systems and public address and telecom systems. “We have some specialist sub-contractors in terms of the specific IT requirements.” Both university projects also embrace an electrical sub-station component.

The company’s third major project in Abu Dhabi is prefabricated accommodation for 20,000 tradesmen on Saadiyat Island, with completion scheduled for year end. Thrasyvoulou estimates the value of the project to be US$33 million (AED120 million). “The original project was for five modules housing 20 000 people each. We are geared up to do additional phases, but at present are only completing the first phase.”

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