Hamish Tyr­whitt out­lines his long-term strat­egy to ex­pand Arabtec Hold­ing’s pres­ence and mar­ket share in the UAE, and beyond


If the Mid­dle East’s most in­flu­en­tial con­struc­tion lead­ers were to be judged by their achieve­ments, then Hamish Tyr­whitt would stand out for the steady growth tra­jec­tory on which he has set his or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Tyr­whitt, in April and Novem­ber 2016, was named group chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO) of Depa Lim­ited and Arabtec Hold­ing, re­spec­tively. He has been at the cen­tre of a quiet but im­pact­ful cam­paign that has turned around the for­tunes of both firms.

Ear­lier this year, Arabtec Hold­ing re­vealed that it ended 2017 in the black, with $33.5m (AED123.1m) in net profit. Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany, its rev­enue for the 12 months end­ing 31 De­cem­ber, 2017, reached $2.5bn (AED9.1bn), while its back­log stood at $4.7bn (AED17.2bn). Last year also saw the com­pany and its sub­sidiaries win­ning work on no­table de­vel­op­ments across the UAE, such as Wasl Tower, Akoya Oxy­gen, and Expo 2020 Dubai’s UAE Pav­il­ion. Arabtec Hold­ing’s turn­around is self-ev­i­dent, but an amused Tyr­whitt only hes­i­tat­ingly agrees when asked if he feels ‘come­back king’ is an ap­pro­pri­ate term to de­scribe his role at the com­pany. “I would love to be able to take the credit, but the re­al­ity is that con­struc­tion is a team sport,” he told Con­struc­tion Week.

“We’ve all worked to­gether [and been] very fo­cused on achiev­ing re­sults and cre­at­ing a cul­ture of ac­count­abil­ity […and] per­for­mance. Cer­tainly, both Depa’s and Arabtec Hold­ing’s teams have stepped up to that.” Tyr­whitt is also op­ti­mistic about the in­dus­try’s fu­ture: “I think the sec­tor is in­cred­i­bly re­silient. We have no con­trol over [ex­ter­nal fac­tors], but it’s our abil­ity to nav­i­gate through those is­sues, if they have an im­pact on us, that’s im­por­tant.

“We have a vis­i­bil­ity of a re­ally good mar­ket at the mo­ment, and we will ten­der for work. Hope­fully, we’ll win our share […], and if we do, we will fo­cus on de­liv­er­ing those jobs.”

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