2017 fmME Power 50: 1-10
The Middle East's 50 most influential FM professionals
1. Jamal Abdulla Lootah, group chief executive officer — Imdaad
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Jamal Abdulla Lootah as group CEO of Imdaad, and his sixth consecutive stint occupying the number one spot on the fmME Power 50 ranking.
Lootah’s consolidation as the most influential player in the region’s FM sector has come on the back of an impressive 2017 for the firm. Imdaad went from strength to strength, as 2017 saw UAE’s largest FM company add a few aspects to its arsenal especially from an operational stand point.
Firstly, it opened its dedicated fleet management facility that will cater to its waste compactor fleet. Imdaad also switched to biofuel for its fleet commissioning a new biofuel station
at its Jebel Ali facility. The last 12 months have also seen Imdaad sign several high-profile
contracts, MoUs and agreements. In January this year, Imdaad announced it would invest up to $16m (AED60m) in the acquisition of local firms as part of its expansion plan for 2017.
This is on the back of acquiring a firefighting and a lift installation andmaintenance company in 2016. In terms of contracts won, Imdaad’s three-year deal to provide FM services for Dubai Maritime City was one of its largest at $1.08m (AED4m). The scope of services included hard and soft services such as HVAC, MEP, civil works and cleaning services.
Lootah’s vision is to keep Imdaad firmly ahead of its competitors through constantly investing in new technologies and maintaining a high standard of services along with strong commitment to the environment and sustainable practices, while investing more than $540,000 (AED2m) every year to train and grow its people.
That ideology is reflected in the R&D facility Imdaad pledged to invest in — a dedicated department within its head office in Dubai. For the first year, Imdaad has committed to spending 3% of its revenue on setting up and developing the R&D function, and the financial commitment will increase in later years depending on business needs.
2. Navin Valrani, CEO, Al Shirawi FM
For Navin Valrani, 2017 is a landmark year, as he completes 20 years as the CEO of education and engineering services at Oasis Investment Compnay (Al Shirawi Group). The company’s turnover for 2016-2017 was $49m (AED180m), a 20% YoY increase. The group says to have a conservative approach for FY 2017-2018.
Valrani says: “Our revenue projection for the financial year 2017-2018 is a conservative — $57m (AED210m) — which reflects a consistent 17% growth on the previous year. Although, 15% of that volume has already been booked with the remainderat the sign off stage.”
In terms of staff growth, Al Shirawi FM’s roster grew by approximately 10% YoY, while the company upped its training and compliance efforts as well. “We are now an Energy Services Company (ESCO) accredited by RSB and actively participating in Etihad Energy tenders. We train our people in energy management techniques, sustainable facilities management and attend seminars by industry experts,” Valrani adds. Several other measures to boost employee performance and service levels were also undertaken.
Al Shirawi FM also entered the growing outdoor entertainment sector, as it signed a deal to provide MEP, soft services supervision and specialised services management for the whole of GlobalVillage throughout the year. Al Shirawi FM also witnessed a 22% growth in the residential sector — an area the firm says to have a firm footing in — with the signing of the Luxury Tower 118 and Volante in the UAE among other projects.
Remaining cautiously optimistic about the future, Valrani says: “Given the market volatility, we have been cautious with our business development activity, selecting the right clients and opportunities. One of the biggest challenges right now is accepting a low profitability environment and sticking to our longer-term goals and strategy, which we know will bring long-term value to our customers and ultimately our business. Dealing with this overly competitive environment requires a lot of mastery and the creation of sustainable competitive advantage.”
3. HE Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO, Bee’ah
Khaled Al Huraimel makes a return to the fmME Power 50 in 2017 — the group CEO has been a crucial cog in driving Bee’ah into diversifying its offerings. From a financial stand point, Bee’ah has witnessed a 15.2% growth in net profit in 2016.
The firm hasn’t yet announced 2017 figures at the time of going to press, but Al Huraimel remains confident of that the positive double digit growth will continue. Bee’ah’s staff strength has increased, and the firm now employs 7,000 employees.
“Of these, labourers constitute a major segment at 3,350, while the numberof qualified operators and engineers recorded is 1,797,” Al Huraimel says. On the staff empowerment front, Bee’ah continues to employ several graduates through its strategic partnership with the Sharjah Leadership Programme. The budgeted spend levels for training, for the next year, is $680,642 (AED2.5m),
Al Huraimel says. “The company has also developed, and will shortly launch, its own training academy for employees from Bee’ah and other establishments from across the Middle East, offering courses on environmentally sustainable practices for businesses,” he adds.
Over the last 12 months, the company recorded a 7.7% increase in the number of commercial contracts, a 10.9% increase in commercial waste collection and recorded a quarterly revenue growth of 6.8%. Bee’ah has continued to gain market share with the signing of multiple new contracts with Al Nakheel Investments, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Al Futtaim Carillion, Carrefour, Lulu Group, Al Safeer Group and Abu Dhabi Coop.
Bee’ah also launched the e-waste recycling facility. And Al Huraimel has called for the construction of new facilities dedicated to wood waste processing and recycling; industrial liquid and oil waste processing and treatment; used cooking oil processing and recycling; paper and cardboard recycling; plastic film recycling and pet plastic recycling.
Bee’ah’s new headquarters — a Zaha Hadid designed carbon neutral complex — is around 40% complete (as of October 2017), and the facility would be ready in Q4 2018.
4. Alex Davies, managing director, Emrill
Following Davies’ landmark 2016 — the year in which he was promoted to the role of MD having served as operations director since December 2014 — a lot would be needed of the firm and Davies to top its performance by its own standards.
Thankfully the near 10% growth in revenue has sustained in 2017, while it has also increased its overall staff by nearly 10% in the last 12 months. That growth, Davies says, points to a healthy business with strong underpinnings built on its core service offerings.
The company’s ‘Step Up’ programme has continued to produce senior-level staff, with close to 10% of the internal staff earning promotions over the last 12 months. “Through our Centre of Excellence multiple colleagues are supported in their memberships of professional accreditation bodies such as BIFM, RICS, IFMA, CIPS, CIPD, ICAEW and CIM,” he says.
Looking at the future, Davies says: “The biggest opportunity for the next 12 months is maximising sustainable growth. Currently, the market is seeing a shift where the value of facilities management is increasingly pertinent; for example, ‘energy performance contracts’ where FM providers such as Emrill are demonstrating significant savings of up to 30% on energy use within buildings. The role FM providers play on the macro national scene is demonstrated best by references in the Dubai Plan 2021, where ‘The Experience’ and ‘The Preferred Place to Live, Work and Visit’ puts providers involvement in many schemes under direct scrutiny.”
Emrill is currently engaged by 53 clients and holds 153 contracts across the board, ranging from single service operations to FM and IFM services. Emrill’s geographical area of operation extends to the UAE, and it’s not in its remit to enter other GCC countries at the moment. Davies has, however, said that Emrill will look at expanding the business in the Northern Emirates with possible contracts wins in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah on the horizon.
5. Markus Oberlin, Chief executive officer – Farnek
Farnek has steadily added to its list of clients throughout 2017, with the firm recently being contracted by RAKBank for two of its Dubai branches. Meanwhile, existing contracts with telecom services provider Du has been renewed.
Farnek CEO Markus Oberlin has continued to drive home its technology-first approach. Farnek recently signed with ArabiaWeather — a weather forecasting company that assists in efficient utilisation of a building’s resources. As a result, Farnek’s operations teams can generate accurate hyper-local weather forecasts on developing weather patterns. This ensures operations teams do not suffer from down time due to weather.
The firm also opened a dedicated office in Abu Dhabi to serve its growing clientele — recently bolstered by a development within the Khalifa City A where Farnek will provide TFM services for the the Al Rabiah development.
As many as 1,000 employees are now engaged across various Abu Dhabi projects, and Farnek plans to have more than 500 security personnel permanently based in Abu Dhabi by 2020. Overall, Farnek’s headcount has risen by little more than 10% — with close to 4,000 employees. In addition to its training centre that administers and trains its employees, Farnek has also joined hands with Protraining. Oberlin says: “Local training provider Protraining will help us create a ‘Specific FM Project’ management course which takes on a tailored approach to all aspects of project management in FM. This course is highly customised and varies significantly from the regular project management courses,” Oberlin says.
The firm continues to provide hard services for the Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall, Musanada and Emirates Airlines. Along with IFM for the City Walk, Dubai Parks and Resorts and Etihad Airways. Farnek’s 2016 revenues increased by 27%, and in 2017 a further 23% increase has been projected. Farnek expects a 4% to 6% growth in profits for the current financial year.
Along with technology and the rise of IoT, Oberlin feels sustainable solutions will continue to rise in prominence over the next year.
6. Ryan Darnell, Executive director for FM – Khidmah
Ryan Darnell has been working in the region for a decade now, and he has helped Khidmah add key contracts to its portfolio while ensuring existing clients continued their relation with the company.
These include Al Muneera with Aldar, Shekha Fatima Mosque, Al Reef Tower, Taleem School, Yahsat (expansion of services to now include soft services and hospitality), Emirates French Hospital, Abu Dhabi Judicial Departments new court house (hard services), Musanada contracts for western region and all regions of hospitality services and TFM services for a few other residential and commercial assets. One of the key contract wins was to provide FM services to UAE’s military facilities in Al Ain and Northern Emirates.
In the fmME Power List 2016, Darnell talked about heavy investments to retain its staff. In 2017, Khidmah went a step further as it now supports the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformance Council on a programme to standardise technical services. “Khidmah is working with the ProFM Institute on a new FM global training standard,” Darnell adds.
Recognising the rise in the number of FM players in the market, Darnell says: “With the number of competitors in the market and current operating conditions it is clear that there will be consolidation in the number of FM service providers and there will be greater focus on niche services to differentiate instead of the current focus on volume.”
7. Ian Harfield, CEO – Cofely Besix Facilities Management
To date, 2017 has been a record year for Cofely Besix Facility Management (CBFM), with a forecasted growth of 30% in turnover. 90% of the revenue is secured, and 10% is due for formal instruction in the coming weeks.
Under Ian Harfield CBFM has managed to increase its profits due to better efficiencies rather than higher prices. Harfield says: “In 2016 the company continued to enjoy sustainable growth in line with previous years, averaging a growth of around 20% on the previous year in turnover, and increased margin percentage against turnover.”
On the staff front, CBFM grew its headcount by 30%, as the number of employees on its books now exceeds 2,000. The growth has mainly been due to three significant contract wins, Harfield says, two of which are in Abu Dhabi.
“We won the TFM services contract for Masdar City which includes full hard, soft and civil facility management services including operations and maintenance of several assets. While we also won a job to provide hard FM and specialist services for the Abu Dhabi International Airport,” he says adding that the firm also secured a contract to provide hard FM and specialised services to another prominent GCC charity organisation.
CBFM is currently in the reckoning for 15 contracts which are under submission or negotiation, involving a wide range of clients.
8. Greg Ward Managing Director – Transguard
On the back of a strong 2016 — a year that was significant for both Transguard and Greg Ward for having crossed the 50,000 employee mark and being appointed to the role of MD respectively — the company continued its upward growth trajectory.
In early 2017, Transguard announced more than 310 new contract wins’ worth over $835m (AED850m) annually. The new business comes just over a year into the tenure of Ward and subsequently a further four key senior management appointments were also made.
Ward says: “In addition, Transguard is providing HR solutions for over 150 personnel for F&B investment company Wakira over a three-year period. The company has also acquired workforce solutions’ contracts with leading international real estate specialist CBRE for 50 employees, and with Al Futtaim Electronics for more than 40 employees, both for a minimum of three years. With the increase in business, Transguard has crossed the 60,000 employee mark.”
For FY2016-17, figures audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Transguard Group generated revenue in excess of $517.29m (AED1.9b) a 33% increase over the previous year and profit of over $39.75m (AED146m) an 18% increase over the previous year. Transguard also increased its efforts to provide better training to its ever-growing number of employees, with the opening of a new fully-equipped training centre. The firm invested (AED3.8m) in the 38,000 ft2 facility that is capable of training 75,000 of its staff by 2020.
The new facility will host training courses for up to 450 staff every day, with the centre expected to run a near-24/7 operation during peak business periods, to meet intense industry demand. Transguard has 39 trainers, team leaders, teachers, facilitators and specialists based at the centre.
The firm also recently diversified its business as it launched a new courier service division. “We want to build on our existing network of over 1,000 clients, and to do so we are diversifying and extending our current offering and now targeting all business customers; we want to be the number one service provider for the UAE’s SME market,” Ward reveals.
9. Ahmad Yousef Al Kandari, Vice chairman and CEO, UFM
Kuwait-based United Facilities Management (UFM) has continued to win a lion’s share of contracts in Kuwait’s FM market. As a result, Ahmad Yousef Al Kandari has worked his way into the top 10 of the fmME Power 50 rankings for the first time in its history, on the back of a healthy rise in revenues and profits.
The firm achieved $35.4m(KD 10,701,106) total revenue by the end of 2016, which has risen to $41.30m (KD 12,468,100) in 2017. The company also managed to turn a healthy 10% profit for this year. The result of this growth, Al Kandari says, is down to the implementation of the UFM Financial Plan, based on the company’s vision launched not too long ago. “The growth has been due to new contract wins which include projects such as the Marina World, KIPCO, Al Shahed & City Tower, and GIC Tower in Kuwait. UFM also won a contract to provide FM services for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait.
UFM also won the Abdali Mall in Jordan and two projects in Egypt — the Aswar and Avaris projects. The standout contract wins, Al Kandari says, were the Central Bank of Kuwait and VIVA projects for which the firm is providing hard and soft services along with specialised services, complete with helpdesk and CAFM implementation.
Al Kandari is setting his sights firm on the Hessa Al-Mubarak district for 2018, Kuwait’s first-ever mixed-use district that comprises of residential, leisure and commercial facilities. UFM has also increased its spend on employee welfare, training learning and development (TLD) by 2% compared to last year — from 7% to 9%.
“UFM fixates on high quality training. Procedures that affect quality, environment, health and safety are of paramount importance. UFM allocates 9% of the company’s net profit to spend on such activities as our employees are our main asset to sustain a successful corporate culture,” Al Kandari concludes.
10. Maen Saddeq Chief executive officer – MAB FM
MAB FM has leapfrogged into the top 10 of the fmME Power
50 rankings. The firm has grown significantly in 2017, adding several high-profile contracts to its portfolio, as its founder and CEO Maen Saddeq builds on the principal of “offering five-star quality service”.
In 2016, MAB was awarded the IFM contract for the Louvre Abu Dhabi which opened in November 2017. It is MAB FM’s biggest contract win until date, and one which Saddeq believes requires the utmost attention and highest service levels.
MAB FM also recently bagged the Index Tower in Dubai’s Business Bay district. The company saw a subsequent increase in revenue and profits year-on-year. Its staff numbers also increased, as MAB today employs close to 5,000 employees.
The company also operates in Jordan, KSA, UAE and other GCC countries with a focus to enter Lebanon and Morocco. Saddeq says: “We are optimistic that a re-energised focus on infrastructure spending will drive growth of several Middle Eastern markets, particularly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“In terms of market size, Saudi Arabia leads the way in the volume of new developments under construction or planned for construction within the coming months. Coupled with delivery schedules of major projects, and upcoming projects, we believe the spend on facilities management in 2018 will experience new highs,” Saddeq adds.
He is also sensitive to the challenges, “which is something that is expected in a market that is maturing”, Saddeq says. “The continuing pressures of shrinking capital budgets as existing facilities age will require doubling efforts to reduce maintenance costs while extending asset life. Driving down maintenance costs in creative and innovative ways will be the greatest challenge over the next 12 months and beyond, not only for us but the industry as a whole,” he adds.