Explore Issue 37 of EME Outlook Magazine, the B2B magazine for Europe and the Middle East.

Latest 37 Corporate Stories


Breaking Ground in the Middle EastGlobal architecture firm UNStudio is bringing its innovative, out-of-the-box design approach to the Middle East, the firm will soon open a permanent office in Dubai   Writer: Dani Redd  |  Project Manager: Ryan Gray Over the past decade, contemporary architecture has transformed the built environment of Middle Eastern cities. Dubai, for example, not only boasts the world’s tallest building – the spindle-like Burj Khalifa – but also the only man-made archipelago modelled on all seven continents. “We are currently noticing a change of direction in the region; a shift away from standardisation, towards new concepts and projects that require more unique and bespoke solutions, particularly in the cultural sector,” says Ben van Berkel, Founder and Principal Architect at UNStudio, when asked what excites him about the sector. UNStudio is an innovative international architectural design network with over three decades of experience delivering projects in countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. It has offices in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and will soon be opening a fifth office in Dubai. “Our aim is to attract regional clients that want to develop the special projects they see being built in all corners of the world, but are not yet doing at home,” Van Berkel explains.  “The biggest challenge lies in finding clients that understand what is required to succeed from the start of a project all the way through to delivery. This is essential if you want to ensure the level of quality and craftsmanship from the original design in the finished buildings.” And when it

Ryan Gray By Ryan Gray

Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch

Switched OnFinnish company Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch has been pioneering electricity train drive solutions, enabling renewable power companies to become even more energy efficient  Writer: Dani Redd  |  Project Manager: Matthew Taylor  Global energy demand continues to rise, driven by industrialisation and population growth. But fossil fuels are finite – an article written by researchers affiliated to Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (MAHB) estimates that our reserves of oil will be used up by 2052, gas by 2060 and coal by 2090.  In order to power our rapidly-growing world, we must turn to renewable energy, which is derived from natural resources – sunlight, wind, rain, waves and biomass – which can be replenished without depleting the planet’s resources. As well as being readily available, renewables emit low or no air pollutants.  Unsurprisingly, the fast-growing renewables sector is attracting an increasing number of professionals eager to make a difference, including Miika Reinikka. “Back in 2009, I was living in Vaasa but working for a telecoms company in Espoo (outside Helsinki). I got a little fed up with travelling, so I decided to take a break and left that company. After a couple of months, I started to look around in Vaasa and found The Switch. This looked like an interesting startup company in the renewable industry. So, I applied for a sales position – and the rest is history,” he says. Reinikka is now President of Yaskawa Environmental Energy Division and Chairman of the Board of The Switch companies after spending a decade working his way up the ranks from

Nicholas Kernan By Nicholas Kernan

Plastika Skaza

Plastic Goes GreenSlovenia’s Plastika Skaza continues to pioneer new products, the company determined to drive a sustainable revolution in the plastics industry both at home and further afield   Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Matthew Taylor  When Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland created the first real synthetic, mass-produced plastic, Bakelite, in 1907, little did he know how dependent we would become on such products more than a century later.  Versatile, economical and lightweight, plastic has undeniably transformed the way we live both at home and in the workplace, its usage stretching from automobile parts to disposable takeaway containers. Such is its impact, today the global plastics market is worth more than $568 billion, growing steadily at around 3.2 percent a year.  But it has also caused problems. Overreliance and overconsumption of plastic products has created serious environmental harm, not least in the world’s oceans and rivers, where some items will take hundreds of years to decompose.  However, the tide appears to be turning. In Slovenia, Plastika Skaza is working tirelessly to innovate and educate on new, more sustainable plastic products, its Joint CEO Robert Agnic determined to change the narrative and perception of the industry.  “The long-term goal is to raise and change the perception of sustainability, both locally and globally, and to become the first face of plastic and sustainable development,” he tells us. “The area we work in is changing the perception of ‘virgin plastic’ and finding ways to reuse it, using a variety of technologies, knowledge and experience. “It is an exciting space to be working in. The industry is

Nicholas Kernan By Nicholas Kernan

Oman Broadband Company

Oman’s Critical Connector Having successfully connected more than 50 percent of Oman’s housing units to modern, fit-for-purpose internet, Oman Broadband Company is planning for Phase 2 of the nationwide rollout     Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki     In the modern age of industry 4.0, ecommerce and ultra-connectivity, where there are more connected devices than people on earth, the importance of a reliable, affordable internet connection has never been more important.    In Oman, this was recognised in legislation in 2014 with the formation of the National Broadband Strategy.    Mandated to overcome the low levels of fixed broadband penetration within the Sultanate and challenges associated with connecting rural areas in geographically awkward landscapes, the ultimate objective is to provide access for every resident to high speed internet at a fair price.    Further still, the strategy aims to provide all enterprises with world-class broadband services, a crucial step to the country’s transformation into a truly digitised society and economy.    “The National Broadband Strategy of Oman recognised the importance of broadband infrastructure in supporting and promoting economic development and diversification,” comments Bader Saud Al Zeidi, Acting CEO of Oman Broadband Company.           “Indeed, it has been recognised that a 10 percent increase in broadband penetration may enhance national GDP by up to 1.3 percent. Unfortunately, the majority of broadband connections in the country to date have been based either on an aging copper network through the use of ADSL, or using wireless broadband based on LTE.    “Although

Express Pack Print

Packing a PunchExpress Pack Print is one of UAE’s top packaging companies, pioneering technologies and sustainability initiatives to maintain its competitive advantage   Writer: Dani Redd  |  Project Manager: Matthew Taylor  In 2019, UAE’s packaging market was valued at $2.675 billion. With a compound annual growth rate of 4.6 percent over the next five years, it is set to surpass $3.5 billion in value by 2025.  According to Abdulla Zubair, CEO of Express Pack Print, this rapidly-growing sector is an exciting one to be working in. “The UAE has a very dynamic, entrepreneurial, and competitive economy,” he says. “It has enabled us to thrive immensely, and kept us on our toes simultaneously. Packaging is indeed a very exciting and challenging space to be working in, with the rise of ecommerce, the push towards sustainability, the shift from plastics to paper and innovative packaging design being just a few of the factors driving it at the moment.”  Retail is one of the largest contributors to the UAE’s non-oil economy; ecommerce in particular is enjoying a boom, thanks to the rise of companies such as Noon and Souq , high levels of internet penetration and purchasing power. All of this this increases the demand for packaging – as does an increase in online ordering and delivery within the F&B sector. But Express Pack Print isn’t just taking advantage of a passing phase. It has been in business since 1991. The CEO, Abdulla Zubair, and his partner Abdul Qader Mohamed had invested in the company in the early 90s. Later, investment firm Alkhabeer Capital became a majority

Nicholas Kernan By Nicholas Kernan

CorPower Ocean

Sea ChangeHow CorPower Ocean is developing game-changing wave energy convertors that will enable the efficient harvesting of electricity from our oceans   Writer: Dani Redd  |  Project Manager: David Knott  Clean energy is more important than ever. Not only does it help conserve non-renewable energy sources, but also improves energy security and enhances economic development through job creation.  Many European governments have set ambitious renewable energy targets – Sweden aims to source 100 percent of its energy from renewables by 2040, with Portugal aiming for an 80 percent target by 2030 and a carbon neutral economy by 2050.  Two of the most popular sources of renewable energy are wind – harnessed by turbines – and solar, captured by photovoltaic panels. But there is one less known energy source with vast potential: waves. “Wave energy represents one of the largest untapped sources of clean energy. It is a huge opportunity of around 500 GW (500 billion watts) – around 10 percent of global energy,” explains Patrik Möller, Co-Founder and CEO of CorPower Ocean. He continues to outline its benefits. “Wave energy has a consistent and highly predictable production profile. It offers local electricity generation along the coasts where most people live. With little or no visual impact, wave farms can be built close to the main consumption centres, reducing required transmission capacity.  “As waves are built up from weather systems during several days over large oceans, the energy content is concentrated and smoothened, delivering a consistent power profile to our coasts that can offset the intermittency of wind and solar. Tapping into one of the largest

Editorial Team By Editorial Team

Copper Mill Sevojno

Copper StandardSince the privatisation of Serbia’s copper industry, manufacturing companies such as Copper Mill Sevojno have gone from strength to strength   Writer: Dani Redd  |  Project Manager: Thomas Arnold  Copper is an element with a long and fascinating history.  One of the first metals to be extracted and used by humans, it has been found in coins and ornaments dating back to 8000 BC. It was copper tools, forged in around 5500 BC, that enabled human beings to emerge from the Stone Age.  Thanks to its malleable, anti-corrosive and heat and electricity conducting properties, copper is as important in the present day as it was to early humans.  It is currently used in construction, power generation and products such as smartphones, televisions, computers and electric motors. Furthermore, putting copper surfaces on high-touch surfaces in hospitals can reduce infection transmission, thanks to its anti-microbial properties. Recent research has shown that the coronavirus – which survives for days on glass, plastic and steel surfaces – lasts mere hours on a copper surface.  In Serbia, the copper industry is going from strength to strength. Mines, smelters and processing plants have been undergoing a process of privatisation since 2000, which involves restructuring and significant investment cycles.  “We have witnessed the entry of the big players into the market through acquisition of local companies, as well as great performance of the local companies, which have managed to focus on export-oriented production, thus becoming dominant regional players.  “Our copper industry is tightly related to the European copper industry. Since Europe is the second largest consumer of the copper, there

Thomas Arnold By Thomas Arnold

Coal Mine Pljevlja

Mining for MontenegroAs the Balkan nation develops its economy and bids for membership of the European Union by 2025, the transformed mining operation based near Pljevlja continues to power progress   Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Thomas Arnold  Montenegro has cause for optimism. A scenic gem of a nation sat in the Balkans, its economy had been steadily growing before the onset of coronavirus, and its application for European Union membership has progressed to the final chapter.  Once part of socialist Yugoslavia, Montenegro is opening itself up to the world – trade is on the up, construction activity is increasing and more and more tourists are adding the country to their bucket list of must-see places in Europe.  All of this requires power, and nestled in the north is Coal Mine Pljevlja, an operation which has been a constant presence throughout the past seven decades of the Montenegrin story. Today, it supplies the Pljevlja Thermal Power Plant which produces some 40 percent of the nation’s electricity, doing so in a profitable manner thanks to a somewhat remarkable reversal in fortunes witnessed over recent years.  In 2014, Slavoljub Popadic was not intent on angling his career away from more than 20 years in Montenegro’s public and private telecoms industry. Working for regional and state-level governmental organisations, in 2001 he became the Executive Director of Internet Crna Gora, the country’s first ISP, before joining Deutsche Telekom.  “My involvement in the mining industry was somewhat unplanned,” says Popadic, who is also the long-standing President of the CEO Forum of Montenegro. “It was at the request

Editorial Team By Editorial Team

Bergman & Beving

Power to the ToolsDespite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Bergman & Beving’s Tools & Consumables division continues to pursue an ambitious strategy of growth   Writer: Dani Redd  |  Project Manager: Matthew Taylor     My father and grandfather are characterised by being ‘practical men with sharp minds’. They both ran their own small size businesses as entrepreneurs. Therefore, it came quite naturally to me to become an engineer, where I could utilise the practical skillset and sharp mind I hope I inherited.” These words are spoken by Oscar Fredell, who is Managing Director of the Tools & Consumables Division at Bergman & Beving.  The Swedish company is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of products and services to the construction and manufacturing sectors, and Fredell has long nurtured aspirations of working for it. “In around 2000, I travelled across the country with fellow engineering students in order to study the operations of the strongest distributor in Sweden – Luna Group,” he continues. “Joining Bergman & Beving gave me the opportunity to lead that company, along with the other strong brands within the Tools & Consumables division. It is a dream come true.” When asked why, Fredell cites the company’s strong entrepreneurial culture and its decentralised decision-making mindset. “Bergman & Beving is full of extremely skilled people helping it to achieve its goal to build world-class brands for professional users within the manufacturing and construction activities,” he adds."Tools & Consumables represents over 500 more brands on the Nordic market, and 40 percent of our sales comes from brands we own"Oscar FredellA strong growth mindsetBergman & Beving

Nicholas Kernan By Nicholas Kernan

Interview: Alan ‘Big Al’ Barratt and the rise of Grenade

Fire in the Hole!Alan ‘Big Al’ Barratt’s explosively successful Grenade brand is a true manifestation of his personality and life experiences, the journey beginning at the age of 15 when he first set foot in a gym  Written by: Tom Wadlow“I’ve always wanted to do things differently to everyone else, and the first thing I want to say is that I’m completely unemployable.” Thankfully, Alan Barratt is not on the hunt for employment at the moment. Desperate to leave formal education at the earliest possible opportunity, he carries no academic qualifications beyond secondary school and has almost no experience of what it is like to be interviewed for a job. Fortunately for him, he sits on the other side of the desk. As Founder and CEO of Grenade, one of the fastest-growing weight management, energy and lifestyle brands in the world, Barratt is the definition of an entrepreneurial livewire, as enthusiastic about all things health and fitness now as he was as a wide-eyed teenager setting foot in a gym for the very first time. It's reflected in everything Grenade. From its award-winning Carb Killa protein bars and supplement packages to energy drinks and fitness apparel, the brand is bold, brash and explosive. The bars even look like a landmine. Barratt explains how it ties into his long-held interest in the military, which not only represents a key line of business for Grenade, but also the inspiration for many marketing stunts, the most striking of which involved driving a tank through the streets of London. Now 43 years young, the entrepreneur’s love

Editor By Editor