Thursday 21 October 2021 - 5:51:43 pm

Belgium's Besix to build Emirates Cement plant infrastructure

Dubai, Sep. 16, 2005 (WAM) -- Belgium's Besix Group will construct Emirates Cement Company's plant, office and associated facilities in Fujairah, a top official said. Egypt's Orascom obtained a 50 per cent stake in the contracting company in 2003.

Johan Beerlandt, Besix's chairman, told +Gulf News+ on Wednesday, "As part of Orascom, which has partnered with Dubai Holding to build Emirates Cement Company (ECC), we will handle the construction of the project." Besix, which recently introduced a new indentity and logo as part of a corporate restructuring that saw horizontal integration of a dozen subsidiaries, is also tipped to win a major contract to build a 300-metre tower in the Burj Dubai distsrict. The award may be announced later this month.

Besix is part of the consortium along with Samsung and Arabtec that is building Burj Dubai, the world's tallest tower.

Beerlandt said, "The UAE and the Gulf is one of our largest markets outside Belgium and represents more than 25 per cent of our global annual turnover and our business in this region represents about 50 per cent of our global output.

"Our current order book in the UAE and Qatar is more than Dh3.5 billion and annual turnover exceeds Dh1.5 billion per annum.

"The UAE has strong growth potential and we see major opportunities here.

We are bidding for major projects as the market opens for new investments in the country." The company's 6,000 workforce is engaged in 23 projects in the UAE at present.

Besix has been a major player in the UAE's construction business for more than 40 years, handling major infrastructure projects such as ports, harbours, roads, power and desalination plants as well as large real estate projects.

The company completed Emirates Towers, Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace Hotel and is currently finishing Abu Dhabi's Dh1.5 billion Grand Mosque.

"We are completing the Dh150 million Al Sufouh interchange which will give clear access to the Palm Jumeirah Island, as well as Dubai Pearl.

Besides, we are completing the access bridge project for the Palm Island, constructed at a cost of Dh100 million with handover scheduled for December 2005," he said.

"We have recently put the Dh300 million Ajman sewage project back on track by underwriting Dh55 million in financial exposure. The concession is for 27 years, including two years for construction." Beerlandt said inflationary pressures caused by high oil prices will be felt by the region's construction industry in the coming years.

"Due to the high oil prices, all oil related products as well as activities related to oil and gasoline are expected to go up. Historically, contractors bid for projects on a lump-sum basis and on a fixed-price contract.

"Therefore, most contractors will suffer in case there is a hike in building material prices. Besides, due to an increase in gasoline prices, transportation costs for materials are expected to go up drastically.

"All these factors are going to put inflationary pressures on the construction industry, and smaller players will be the most severely affected.

"We have an early procurement programme that helps us to absorb pressures to a certain extent. But most small players will suffer badly, and some might go out of business," he said.