Issue 31

Sobha Realty

Compelling, Captivating Construction Capitalising on the ever-exciting market that is Dubai, Sobha Realty is leading the charge with its avant-garde architecture  Project Manager: Ben Weaver  A city renowned for striking superlatives, Dubai’s architectural industry has become transcendent in recent decades.  From the world’s tallest building in the form of the Burj Khalifa, standing at 830 metres (2.76 times taller than the Eiffel Tower), to the weird and wonderful of the Dubai Frame, Museum of the Future, Cayan Tower and Burj Al Arab, it’s a city that has become renowned for creativity, innovation and imagination.  It is worth noting that the region is not all show, however.  According to Knight Frank’s data, $1 million can purchase 143 square metres of space in Dubai, compared to 16 square metres in Monaco, 22 square metres in Hong Kong, and 31 square metres in New York and London. Further, it continues to rank the highest for living quality across the Middle East according to the Mercer Quality of Living Index.  For this reason, Muscat, Oman-based multinational real estate and construction company, Sobha Group, identified an opportunity back in 2003.  Seeking to capitalise on the region’s rapidly growing demand for world-class infrastructure, combined with economic prospects in the form of sustainable growth and a blossoming pool of international talent, the company which started out as an interior decoration firm in 1976 has excelled in the region in the 16 years since expanding.  Highly regarded as a leading international luxury developer, Sobha Realty, the Dubai-based spearhead of Sobha Group, has continued to redefine the real estate value chain through a multitude of flagship developments.  A new heartland  The most notable of these is Sobha Hartland.  An eight million square foot waterfront community consisting of luxury apartments and

Editorial Team By Editorial Team

Pizza Express UAE : The People’s Business

Having doubled in size in just three years, Pizza Express UAE is reaping the rewards of a family- and respect-based culture which is seeing every employee sharing its success story.

Editorial Team Editor By Editorial Team Editor

Moravia Cans

The Aluminium Advocate Championing the use of aluminium packaging, Moravia Cans continues to produce cost-effective, cutting edge aerosol products for clients all over the world   Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Thomas Arnold  Infinitely recyclable and extremely durable, almost three quarters of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today.   It is believed that around 900 million tonnes of aluminium have been made since 1880, with the majority now sitting in buildings, electrical cables, machinery and within transport applications. Recycling all of this would equate to 17 years’ worth of current annual aluminium production.   It is a marvel of a metal. 100 percent reusable and able to indefinitely retain its properties, aluminium has rightly become the poster child of sustainable packaging solutions, commonly dubbed the most valuable item in the recycling bin.    For Martin Boaler, it represents the true definition of recyclability.   “Recycling should mean you can return your product and have it reused or remanufactured as the same product again, and again, and again,” he says. “This is not downcycling where the material is used for something less and less valuable and loses some performance each time until it reaches landfill or incineration.”  Boaler is a packaging industry veteran. An engineer and chartered accountant by trade, he now serves as Managing Director of Czech Republic-based Moravia Cans, specialist producer and global supplier of aluminium aerosol containers.   The introduction to Moravia was an unconventional one, with Boaler originally trying to buy the company whilst serving as Head of Mergers and Acquisitions at Impress Group, now part of Ardagh Group. Having stayed in contact with the owners, he accepted an approach to join and lead the company in early 2017.   Low-cost, leading-edge   Moravia produces around half a billion cans a

Thomas Arnold By Thomas Arnold

Hydrawell : The Abandonment Accelerator

HydraWell holds the key to fast, effective offshore oil well abandonment and it comes in the form of PWC. Tom Leeson, Chief Commercial Officer, reveals how.

David Knott By David Knott

Dubai Refreshment Company

A Refreshed Approach Operating in a complex food and beverage market, industry veteran Dubai Refreshment PJSC is responding to challenges and opportunities by diversifying its product portfolio    Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Matthew Selby  The UAE’s food and drink industry is in a stable state.    Home to several longstanding and successful enterprises, the sector represents one of if not the most important manufacturing segments contributing to the nation’s economy, an economy which the government is determined to further diversify outside of oil.   And it appears to be doing a commendable job. In 2017 the BMI Risk/Reward index ranked the UAE as the most favourable environment in the GCC for the food and drink trade, and fourth most attractive globally.   Further research suggests the industry will reach $196 billion in 2021, up from $130 billion recorded in 2018, with subsectors such as non-alcoholic beverages among those tipped for solid growth.   Indeed, this market is tipped to expand by an annual rate of around 5.9 percent thanks to the popularity of products including fruit and vegetable juices, soft drinks, mineral water and spring water.   For F&B manufacturing and distribution specialist Dubai Refreshment PJSC (DRC), today’s dynamic backdrop offers tremendous potential to grow both its core and supplementary lines of business, building on a legacy stretching back 60 years.   “The fact I am working for a company with such an extensive legacy fills me with great pride,” comments Chief Operations Officer Sherif Elmeligy.   “We are very well-known to the local communities here in Dubai who will know DRC for its factory that was a landmark on Sheikh Zayed Road for over 40 years. It was

Editorial Team By Editorial Team

Classic Fine Foods

Food Made Personal Partnering with artisanal producers all over the world, Classic Fine Foods prides itself on helping food industry operators to connect with their customers and tell their stories    Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Lewis Bush  An important trend that we are seeing is the need to tell a story.   “Consumers are increasingly conscious of where their food comes from. How long ago was the fish caught? How was the fish caught? How far away from the restaurant does it come from? These are all questions we as suppliers and chefs need to answer.”  For Christophe Barret and food sourcing specialist Classic Fine Foods (CFF), provenance is everything.   More than ever consumers are scrutinising the story behind their food and drink purchases, so much so that the journey a product takes before reaching them can carry equal weight to the substance of the item itself.   “Sustainability, for example, is therefore a major requirement for our chefs in today’s restaurant industry as their customers will choose dishes that are produced responsibly,” adds Barret, who is approaching one year as CFF’s Chief Executive Officer.   “I’m French and I love food – two things that often go hand in hand,” he adds. “I started my career in the retail industry 25 years ago and joined Classic Fine Foods in October 2018 after 14 years working in five different markets.”  Personal touch   Although now owned by a leading international wholesale company, Classic Fine Foods has been able to operate with a strong degree of independence which has enabled it to maintain what Barret believes is an organisational hallmark and key point of difference.   “In

Editorial Team By Editorial Team

Arabian Construction Company

Creativity Unconstrained Arabian Construction Company continues to build iconic structures across the Middle East, not least in Dubai where it is on track to deliver a series of landmark projects    Writer: Tom Wadlow | Project Manager: Ryan Gray  Standing out from the crowd has never been more important in the realm of construction.   A sector in contraction in many parts of the world, the ability to differentiate is key to securing success in ever competitive tendering processes.   The Middle East, although in a healthier financial state than some other regions, is not immune to the challenge of increasing competition.   “Construction is recognised as a complex and difficult business due to the multitude of parameters which can affect the construction process,” comments Maher Merehbi, CEO of Arabian Construction Company (ACC).    “Added to this level of difficulty, the economy in the Middle East is in a downturn and this has an undeniable effect on construction. In such situations, the challenges of securing and realising projects increase dramatically.”   Dubai, a key focus for ACC, represents a market where opportunities remain largely abundant.     In 2018, some $30 billion worth of projects were awarded to contractors, while preparations for Expo 2020 continue at a momentous pace alongside the emirate’s push to develop into a truly smart city.  For Merehbi, places like Dubai offer the chance to realise long-held career ambitions.   “Engineering and construction were a career choice from my early academic years,” he explains. “The potential of realising physical projects catering to the everyday needs of people as well as outstanding landmarks made this field a very attractive proposition.    “ACC, being a prominent construction company in the region and a business partly owned by

Ryan Gray By Ryan Gray

Alyasra Food Company

Championing Change One of GCC’s foremost foodservice providers, Alyasra Foods is embodying excellent customer experience and optimised operations, owed to extensive digital transformation efforts   Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Matthew Selby  Seafood has long been a staple of Kuwaiti diets.   A small Middle Eastern landmass hugging the upper reaches of the Arabian Gulf, the country’s arid climate and desert-based terra firma has long dictated that fresh water, arable land and, resultantly, traditional land-based agricultural has been hard to cultivate.   As such, many of Kuwait’s long-standing household favourite foods and dishes, from Muttabaq Samak to Murabyan, are strictly fish based.  However, culinary diversification has began to sweep across the country in the past three decades.  “Up until the 1990s, fish was the primary source of protein in the GCC region. Back then, a family in Kuwait identified this relatively linear national diet as a major opportunity – they began importing frozen chicken from Brazil,” reveals Niels Miles Frandsen, introducing Alyasra Foods.  “They sold this in supermarkets across Kuwait, capitalising on a shift in consumer tastes as chicken gradually came to the fore of people’s diets. Indeed, Alyasra Foods established itself as one of the pioneers of this shift.”  The statistics speak true of Frandsen’s depiction. In the 20-year period between 1991 and 2011, annual domestic poultry consumption rose from 23 million tonnes to 143 million tonnes, while the country now imports over 96 percent of its food.  “Leveraging this base the family quickly diversified the company’s portfolio, incorporating frozen meat, frozen vegetables, frozen fish and an array of other products into its distribution channels that served many major supermarkets, allowing it to become the largest supplier of frozen foodstuffs in the country,” he adds, eluding to the 70 percent market

Editorial Team By Editorial Team

Al Sayer Franchising Company

Pursuing Perfection A regional flagship for Caribou Coffee and Five Guys, Al Sayer is providing the foundations for forward-thinking franchising in the Middle East Project Manager: Matthew Selby  Coffee. A universally renowned staple drink across communities around the world, it has established itself as one of the most popular caffeinated beverages on the planet.  According to current estimates, more than two billion cups of it are consumed every day (25,000 every second). Yet despite its undeniable global popularity, the drink remains a relatively new addition to modern culinary delicacies in the grand scheme of history.  Unbeknownst to many, the earliest evidence of coffee’s consumption dates to the early 15th century when it was found in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. From here, it took less than a century for the refreshment to spread throughout the rest of the Middle East and North Africa, even reaching Persia, Turkey and South India.  Its rapid rise in popularity became somewhat turbulent, having been banned by religious leaders in Mecca, Cairo, Ethiopia and even in the Catholic Church in centuries gone by.  Nonetheless, coffee has continued to prevail, no better reflected than by the current demand for it in the region where it was first discovered.  According to Euromonitor international, the coffee industry in the Middle East is expected to be valued at $4.4 billion by 2021. And while the versatile drink continues to become recognised as a multicultural, artisan experience, those providing the beverage, such as Al Sayer Franchising Company, will continue to thrive.  Pursuing perfection  A flagship franchising business of American coffeehouse chain Caribou Coffee, Al Sayer’s own exponential growth

Editorial Team By Editorial Team

Affan Innovative Structures

Avant-Garde Architecture  A construction company that dares to be different, Affan Innovative Structures has established itself as a figurehead of modernity   Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Ryan Gray  Aluminium has been used in aircraft since 1925, but it didn’t appear on any building site until the 1960s.  “Following the same pattern, carbon fibre, often referred to as the material of the future, was discovered in 1974 and first used in aircraft in 1984, but we’re still yet to see it being used widely in architectural designs.”   In the eyes of Amer Affan, vast swathes of the construction industry have developed a reputation of being somewhat regressive, with sector players consistently relying on traditional techniques, rarely challenging status quos.   Going against this grain, however, was the source of Affan’s motivations in setting up Affan Innovative Structures in 2004 – a Dubai-based business that has positioned itself as one of the market leaders in producing world-class steel and glass structures.  Looking at projects from fresh, creative perspectives, and having cultivated a team that is adept in working with the latest technologies, techniques and materials such as carbon fibre, the company has come to embody forward-thinking architecture in the GCC’s construction industry.  “One particular client of ours, Sidra Hospital in Qatar, was looking for an entrance canopy resembling a thin flying carpet-style look clad in stainless steel back in 2009, a filigree 3D design that was simply not possible to construct in steel,” reveals Affan, calling upon an example of the company’s innovative ethos in action.  “At that time, I was also building my own sailing boat in Dubai and realised the advantages of

Ryan Gray By Ryan Gray


Challenging the Conventional A pioneer of cutting-edge construction, ADMARES combines innovative marine, offshore, land and modular techniques to deliver world-renowned projects   Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Ryan Gray  Every week, three million people across the globe relocate to a city. It is no surprise, therefore, that by 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population are expected to be living in urban epicentres, as swathes of people equivalent to the populace of Rome or Madrid relocate to cities every seven days.  With this unprecedented metropolitan influx will come countless challenges, from detrimental environmental effects to potentially challenging social climates. On the contrary, however, the preparations that have begun have led to the emergence of a number of proactive solutions including the rise of marine architecture.  A concept that has proven itself to be ideal in areas where there is high demand for real estate near water, floating and amphibious buildings have revealed their merits in adapting to rising sea levels, dealing with the adverse effects of climate change and maximising the use of green technologies.  It is because of this abundance of benefits that Mikael Hedberg recognised an opportunity in 2014.  “I began my career in the marine industry upon receiving my master’s degree and after a few years of working within several different areas of the industry, decided to start my own business,” he reveals, outlining his path into the construction industry.  “I founded ALMACO Group in 1998 together with my father and a few colleagues, a company specialising in both the construction and modernisation of cruise ships and offshore accommodation areas, public areas, galleys and provision rooms.  “My time at ALMACO provided me with useful experience that

Ryan Gray By Ryan Gray

Advice for a young entrepreneur entering your industry

We gave featured business leaders the final word in answering “What advice would you give to an entrepreneur entering your industry?”

Editorial Team By Editorial Team

Expert Eye: Accenture on how Tesla got it right

Written by: Eric Schaeffer and David Sovie, Senior Managing Directors at AccentureDigital technology is highly disruptive, but also the biggest opportunity to reposition product-making companies. We gathered insights on the challenges from leading companies when working on our new book Reinventing the Product. Here are some excerpts from our conversation with a trained software engineer who has dealt with smart connected products for most of his career, and who worked for US mobility specialist Tesla. What is the key feature characterising a Tesla car as a connected product?I would say it is a car that has been uncompromisingly re-architected on a software basis. Tesla models are driven by software and not hardware architecture, despite the fact that there is a tremendous amount of high-end physical engineering in them. But it is software that controls the coupling of all those hardware components.Can you think of any analogies in other product fields?A Tesla model compares to a conventional car like a flip phone to a smartphone. For both, very high-end electromechanical engineering is necessary. Both are demanding to design from a hardware perspective. But in one of them the user experience and the operation of the device is coded rigidly into the hardware – like in a flip phone. Tesla, rather like a smartphone, is by contrast a radically software-defined device that can change its function fluidly and very dramatically after the product has shipped. The beauty is that ongoing improvements of the user experience can be conducted via software updates.What sort of improvements are we talking about?This

Editor By Editor

The FinTech Alliance : An Exclusive Conversation

The Fintech Alliance is gearing up to become a multifaceted digital engagement platform that will benefit the entire financial and technology ecosystem.

Editor By Editor

IBM and Wimbledon: From Data Deuce to Analytical Advantage

Wimbledon is best described as a special affair.The tennis grand slam has entrenched itself as one of the most prestigious sporting events of the calendar year, renowned as beautifully British and eclectically eccentric, yet perfectly balanced with innovation and modernisation.Settling into the north-westerly facing stand of Court 3 on Manic Monday, it was easy to see how this equilibrium between The Championship’s habitual heritage and avant-garde technologies had come to fruition.As the third march of the day began, crowd-wide mutters of admiration quickly spread after 141 miles per hour was displayed on one of the subtly placed courtside serve speed trackers following a trademark opening from 15th seed Milos Raonic.This pattern continued during the first two sets while numerous challenges on pinpoint aces from opponent, and eventual victor, Guido Pella showcased the best of Hawkeye that ourselves and 2,000 other spectators took great satisfaction from, despite immaculate displays from the uniform-clad line judges’ in what turned out to be an enticing, marathon five-set match.Swept up in the atmosphere, it was easy to take even these most prominent and familiar technologies for granted, let alone those that have been helping to revolutionise the sport from behind the scenes.While artificial intelligence has become a flagship for the tournament in recent years, evident in the latest string of bias detection advancements that Tom has been referring to, there are others that have equally come to the fore.Transforming tennis“Wimbledon is increasingly becoming a data-driven media organisation,” explained Simon Boyden as we entered the Bunker.Pointing to data as another key driver

Editor By Editor

Opinion: Why the future of construction is modular

It’s no secret that the UK is suffering from a housing crisis.Modular homes are seen as the answer. They are designed to be incredibly energy efficient – some costing just £1 per day to run – and efficient to manufacture – with some developments boasting a one-week onsite build time. What’s not to get excited about? But it’s not just architects and contractors who are having all the fun in developing this new approach to housing. Engineers are also challenging the norm when it comes to creating eco-friendly and efficient-to-erect homes.“Compared to the design of standard residential homes, modular homes are a completely different product and require a wholly new approach,” said Wayne Oakes, Director at civil and structural engineering practice, Dice.“During our first modular project we spent a considerable amount of time liaising directly with the manufacturer regarding specific details and design standards - most notably with regards to National House Building Council (NHBC) requirements for the substructure. This was a requirement of offsite manufacturing partner ilke Homes’ properties, to ensure that each of the plots met the requirements of building control.“Since then, we’ve learnt a lot. Perhaps the biggest challenge we have faced to date is attempting to retrofit a brownfield site on behalf of a developer who purchased the site, prior to fully understanding the constraints and nuances associated with the product. “Modular units have specific requirements in terms of their sub-structures and external works designs - particularly in the case of sites with gradients and surface water management requirements, which would not be considered

Editor By Editor

City of Helsinki launches local sustainability programme

According to a survey carried out by the City of Helsinki in 2018, two thirds of residents identified the climate crisis as their major concern when thinking about the future of the city. In response, Helsinki has launched Think Sustainably, the world’s first online service that enables making sustainable choices as easy as using an app.Think Sustainably provides residents, visitors and business owners with practical tools to rethink their daily behaviour and make more sustainable lifestyle and business decisions.Services filtered through the online programme include restaurants, shops, events, experiences and accommodation, each benchmarked against tailor-made criteria developed by the City of Helsinki in collaboration with the independent think tank Demos Helsinki, local interest groups and sustainability experts. The service also includes a route planner feature that enables choosing emission-free transportation options to the wide variety of experiences on offer in the city. The route planner provides CO2 emissions in grams per person per trip. Currently gathering feedback from users, the Think Sustainably service is publicly available with plans to roll the programme out further and review its impact in 2020.Cities house more than half of the world’s population and are responsible for over 70 per cent of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions. The City of Helsinki recognises that cities are at the forefront of combating climate change and implementing innovative policies. The City is aware of the need of systemic change in habits and the programme is the latest initiative to support its 2035 carbon neutral target. In developing Think Sustainably, The City has recognised the

Editor By Editor