Regional News


December 2015

Blue Star buys into Omani firm

India’s leading engineering conglomerate Blue Star has acquired a 51 per cent stake in Oman Electro Mechanical Contracting Company (OEMC) as part of its regional expansion strategy.

The joint venture with OEMC, a 100 per cent subsidiary of WJ Towell & Company, a renowned business group with diversified interests in Oman, will help the Indian group boost its MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing ) footprint internationally.

The new company, Blue Star Oman will offer MEP contracting services across the sultanate.

Over the next couple of years, Blue Star Oman aims to acquire more than 10 per cent of the $350-million Oman MEP market. The new firm also plans to expand into the after-sales service business in the country.


Riffa Views builds villas

Riffa Views in Bahrain has appointed Projects Construction Company for construction of 78 villas and townhouses at one of the signature estates at the development.

This comes as part of the workout plan agreed last February between Riffa Views and its creditors for the completion and sale of the remaining 212 units at Riffa Views.

Managing director Yasser Al Raee said: “We are very excited with this appointment and work progress that has been achieved since signing the workout plan”.

The Parks Estate offering includes two- and three-bedroom townhouses and three- to six-bedroom Mediterranean style villas with plot sizes ranging from 500 to 3,500 sq m.

Riffa Views development consists of 1,056 villas and townhouses, The Royal Golf Club, The Royal Country Club, Golf and Tennis Academies, Riffa Views International School (RVIS) and Riffa Palms retail.


Bahrain to instal LED traffic lights

Bahrain’S Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs & Urban Planning is all set to start work on the second phase of the LED (light-emitting diode) Traffic Signals Project.

Under this project, all the old lights of 115 interchanges and pedestrian signals will be replaced with the LED lights at the cost of BD513,330 ($1.35 million), said Kadhim Abdul Latif, the acting roads assistant undersecretary at the ministry.

As part of the first phase of the project, which was completed in October last year, 136 signals were replaced at a cost of BD479,820 ($1.26 million), he noted.

According to Latif, the LED lights have proven to be very successful and efficient in advanced countries.

Latif said with this installation, the total number of LED traffic signals in Bahrain has now risen to 325 from 74 the previous year.


Mace to manage conference centre

UK firm Mace’s facilities management unit Macro has secured a contract with Venue Pro Management to provide managed services and computer-aided facilities management to the new Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre in Qatar.

The cavernous downtown facility was completed in October and hosted its first event early last month.

The centre is unique in the exhibition world because, with its partition walls removed, the hall can provide nearly 29,000 sq m of column-free space. Its developer, the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), says its 18-m-tall ceilings are the highest in the Middle East.

Macro will be responsible for facilities management of the main concourse area, cafes, public restrooms, prayer rooms, a loading zone, storage, circulation space, and a large car park in the basement.


Kuwait AC market to grow

Kuwait’s air-conditioning market is set to grow at an annual rate of 4.17 per cent between 2015 and 2021, according to recent research.

The 6Wresearch report said that the uncertainty of projects and political conditions have affected the construction industry but the scenario is expected to change as many new public and private projects are expected to be built.

 “A changing political environment and an increasing government focus towards building infrastructures with the private players, will boost investor confidence,” Avishrant Mani, senior research analyst at  6Wresearch said, adding that this would spur demand for air-conditioning.

“Kuwait air-conditioners market is controlled by international players such as York, SKM, Carrier and Trane who have contributed for the growth of the market. The residential sector has witnessed highest demand for air-conditioners and this is projected to grow further with the increase in the number of housing projects in the country,” he added.


Hotel group to build residences

Gulf Hotels Group (GHG) has announced the commencement of a new residential project, entailing a multi-million-dollar investment.

The Bahraini hotel operator said it has signed an agreement appointing Olympic Contracting as the main contractor for the new Gulf Residence Juffair project.

Construction work has already begun and the project is set to be completed in about 22 months, it said.

The Gulf Residence Juffair will feature 108 deluxe serviced apartments of one-, two- and three-bedrooms along with food and beverage options and health and recreation facilities.


Qatar plans $411m park projects

Qatar plans to build 59 new public parks in different municipalities at a cost of about QR1.5 billion ($411 million), said a report.

The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning said 25 parks will come up in Al Rayyan Municipality, while the Um Salal municipality will get 14 and six each will be allocated for the municipalities of Al Wakrah Al Khor and Al Zakhera, reported The Peninsula.

Doha Municipality will have five new parks, while Al Daayeen will get two and Al Shamal one, said the report citing Mohamed Al Khouri, the director of Public Parks Department.

Work will start next year on the projects, which will feature unique designs including some in the shape of a shell, a butterfly, a leaf and different types of flowers.


Oman Air to build training facility

Oman Air said it is planning to build a training facility as part of a new phase in its expansion programme.

Oman Air Flight Training Centre (OAFTC) will be built at a cost of RO3 million ($7.79 million) and is expected to be completed in less than a year.

The facilities will include flight simulators.


New golf club for Qatar

A new golf destination is to be developed in Qatar, according to a report.

The Qatar International Golf Club will be home to a new 18-hole championship course, a six-hole course and a nine-hole par three course, Zawya said.

The new club will be built in the heart of Education City, a 14-sq-km area in the outskirts of Qatar’s capital Doha that is home to a number of education and research facilities. Other facilities at the club will include a high-tech driving range and a centre of excellence.

The Amlak Holding firm is overseeing the project, and is working with the Golf Environment Organization to ensure the highest environmental standards are met throughout the design and construction phases.


Tadmur wins Leed Gold points

Tadmur Contracting, a subsidiary of Qatar’s leading business conglomerate  Tadmur Holding, has earned a Gold Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification for its Evergreen building located in Energy City Qatar (ECQ), a site connected to the wider Lusail development.

Some of its key environment-friendly features are a water reuse system that helps reduce potable water consumption by 50 per cent through high-efficiency fixtures. Others include an Indoor Environment Quality performance plan that meets the minimum requirement of Ashrae 62-1999 (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers).

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