UAE's fastest-growing construction conglomerate, expands through organic growth and asset acquisition
Date: Dubai, April 30, 2017
Airolink, a large design and build construction conglomerate, announced the signing of Dh2.8 billion (US$760 million) new project contracts, raising the total value of its current order book to Dh4.4 billion (US$1.2 billion), from Dh1.6 billion (US$435 million) in the first quarter of 2017.
“The new construction contracts worth Dh2.8 billion reflect a growing confidence of our clients on Airolink's project delivery capacity and demonstrate our growing strength in project management and construction,” Dr Anil G. Pillai, Chairman and Managing Director of Airolink, says. “The projects demonstrate a strong pipeline of construction projects that are being executed by clients and developers.”
Among the ongoing projects, the Al Mamzar Centre tops the list, followed by the Emirates College of Technology, the Bloom School, the Art Centre and the Dubai Heights School, are of significant value. Among others, Airolink has been involved in the construction of five schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
“We have been quite strong in developing many educational facilities, shopping centers, hotels, residential and healthcare projects etc. and our strength comes from undertaking projects on turnkey basis,” Dr Anil G. Pillai says. “We are able to undertake the full development responsibility – including educating the clients on construction technology and financial discipline, feasibility study of the project, consultancy, design, detailed design, construction and delivery of the complete project to the client. So, we are not just a contractor.”
The company, which has a strong presence in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ireland markets, employs 2000 employees including the recently hired workforce.
Airolink traces its origin back in Europe whereby Airolink was set up in 2001 to cater to the specialised needs of a booming construction industry in Ireland (2001-2008). It was during this period that the company cemented the foundations of its legacy, through comprehensive management controls, highly competitive pricing and a bottom line commitment to quality.
As a result of the company's professional endeavour, Airolink became synonymous with speed, quality and price competitiveness, particularly within investment circles eager to start recouping their investments at the earliest possible stages. The company was subsequently awarded many large scale commercial, industrial and residential projects which it consistently executed to a very high standard.
Having established in Europe, Airolink expanded to Middle East with some of the prestigious contracts in UAE in 2008 establishing Airolink Building Contracting LLC in Dubai.
“We are a sustainable business with healthy cash flow situation. This allows us to undertake greater risks. Besides, we are very disciplined business when it comes to financial discipline,” Dr Anil G. Pillai says.
“Second, we are very quality and cost conscious business. We deliver projects as per the planned quality, with minimum interference. Third, we make and keep our employees happy. This is important. The productivity of a happy employee is higher than the unhappy ones.”
The UAE's construction industry is undergoing a major change with market becoming tighter and more professional in nature. Although the country has a strong project pipeline despite the low-oil price environment that reduces government spending capabilities in the oil-rich Gulf countries, lack of liquidity and stiff competition among contractors could impact the industry.
The outlook for Dubai's construction industry looks positive for 2017 as 4,000 active construction projects worth $313 billion are currently underway, according to data from BNC's Construction Analytics report.
The value of ongoing urban construction projects across the GCC has exceeded the $1 trillion mark, according to new research. Projects in the Gulf region are worth a combined $1,097.9 billion (Dh3.7 trillion), with buildings and urban development accounting for more than half of that sum, or $745.1 billion.
Across the GCC, more than 12,200 buildings are under construction worth $448 billion in value, with a further 204 urban megaprojects worth $297 billion also under way. The report said that of 21 per cent of planned projects in the GCC are on hold, valued at $494.9 billion.
“The market has come a long way since the global financial crisis of 2009-10. Contractors have matured and they have tightened their belts by streamlining the management and processes,” Dr Anil G. Pillai says.
“Dubai's construction market is quite modern and it incorporates all the best international practices. There are enough projects in Dubai to keep most contractors busy for some time and more projects are being planned and tendered out as we speak. This will continue for some time, definitely till the end of Expo 2020. Since Dubai economy is not dependent on oil, the low oil price will not affect the emirate's economy or construction sector.”