EYEING projects worth $418 billion across the region, leading Dubai-based flooring and interiors solutions major Al Aqili Furnishings plans to expand operations to cover Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Doha, Qatar.
The firm also aims to execute its plans on the strength of a positive first half with over Dh140 million ($37 million) won in contracts for projects across the GCC as well as having successfully completed two high-profile developments – the headquarters buildings of both Al Masa Real Estate and Al Aqili Distribution – collectively worth over Dh30 million ($8 million).
“We had a great start to 2010. We wrapped up work on the Burj Khalifa in time for its launch and witnessed the restarting of several projects,” says Shahriar Khodjasteh, group marketing director, Al Aqili Furnishings. “Currently there are more than 1,200 projects estimated at $418 billion and we intend to be a major part of these developments.”
Al Aqili Furnishings also conducted a review assessing the strength of the regional furnishings industry and the level of growth experienced by key sectors, including flooring, fabrics, furniture, lighting and turnkey solutions, since the start of this year. Although the market study showed that Dubai will continue to be the major focus market, Abu Dhabi and Doha are catching up fast and have become key areas of development and investment for the interiors solutions industry, especially over the last year, he says.
Another development is the predominance of cost-effective quality brands over luxury options. In line with its development strategy, the company has expanded its range of suppliers to include a wide spectrum in pricing. “We have a group of dynamic suppliers who responded to the new conditions by developing cost-effective products that don’t compromise on quality,” says Khodjasteh. “By offering value for money as well as a world-class quality, we are well-positioned to cater to the constantly evolving consumer preferences and stay at the top of the game.”
The review also established that the correction brought on by the global economic crisis has led to an earnest adoption of global best practices, gradually leading to increased optimism in the industry and better relations between suppliers, banks, clients and investors.
“We went through a phase of exponential growth in 2006 and 2008 – a time of heavy investments and mega projects. The global recession changed that and several companies have reassessed their projects and have reduced operational costs to cope with the new environment,” says Khodjasteh.
“The long-term approach involving the streamlining of processes and increasing efficiency has led to a more robust industry with better defences against market fluctuations.”
Al Aqili Furnishings ushered in this year with contracts for the much-anticipated Royal Mirage on the Palm Jumeirah, Khalid Al Attar Tower, the Park View hotel in Dubai and the Moevenpick’s four towers of furnished apartments in Abu Dhabi, and the JAL Resort in Fujeirah, in addition to the Doha Bank headquarters in Qatar. The flooring division alone notched up a turnover of Dh16 million ($4.3 million) in March this year.