DSI forges ahead in Africa, Egypt

Despite regional unrest, DSI forges ahead with expansion

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Prior to joining DSI in October last year, Mark Andrews was chief executive of NG Bailey, the UK's largest MEP contractor.
Prior to joining DSI in October last year, Mark Andrews was chief executive of NG Bailey, the UK's largest MEP contractor.

Despite recent civil unrest in Thailand and Egypt, where Drake & Scull International (DSI) has secured major projects, the company is still committed to its expansion strategy, says MEP MD Mark Andrews.

“What DSI has done over the last couple of years is phenomenal, and we are still very much in the transition of moving DSI from where it was, as a very strong business predominantly in the UAE, to one that has a completely different scale, both in terms of geography and size. We are moving along that curve pretty rapidly,” says Andrews.

“Some of the areas we are moving into are inevitably going to have challenges. Libya does not affect our MEP business at all. In Thailand, we certainly did not see even a blip as far as our project was concerned.

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"Egypt looks to be a very promising territory for us; we won several jobs there at the end of last year. We went through a couple of weeks where we moved our expats out, but they are back in, and all of those jobs are back on the rails and are moving well," says Andrews.

"The Indian market is potentially huge. At the moment it certainly has a lot of attractions. The MEP market there is not particularly well established, and still tends to be mechanical, plumbing and electrical contracts as separate packages.

“It is at that point where is the opportunity for the right players with the right ideas to make a difference. There is no doubt that there is a phenomenal amount of construction. It is sort of like what Dubai was in the heyday.”

Andrews says DSI continues “looking at other territories in that part of the world and elsewhere, because we recognize that our diversification needs to go beyond the Middle East. We do not want every single egg in the Middle East basket.” He adds: “We have got to be selective and smart in terms of what ones we go after.”

On the subject of the recent unrest that has gripped certain countries, and the potential for it to spread, Andrews comments: “Something could happen in one of the territories in which we are operating and make life difficult there, but I think you have just got to try and mitigate that and have plans in place in case things do unravel.”

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