The announcement that Qatar is to host the 2022 FIFA football World Cup tournament has brightened the outlook for real estate and construction companies in the Gulf region.
A number of developers are already working in the Gulf state and others in the region are hoping to get some of the action from the region’s first ever global football competition.
‘We would expect to be in a position to win a share of such a market as we have the correct experience both in stadiums, hotels, residential and retail projects and the like we are optimistic about our chances,’ Arabtec Construction chief executive officer Thomas Barry told Arabian Business.
‘We expect that there will be requirements for hotels, residential, leisure and retail developments, all of which we have extensive experience in constructing,’ he added.
Dubai based contractor Drake and Scull International (DSI), which has had an office in Qatar since 2004 and now employs 450 people in the Gulf state, also said it hoped that the Qatari share of its business would grow in the next decade.
‘There is tremendous upside on Qatar, there has been a lot of promise, but we haven’t been able to pick up as much as we wanted to,’ said Zeina Tabari, DSI’s chief corporate affairs officer.
There was always a significant government spend planned for Qatar over the next 10 to 15 years, according to Tony Saadie, executive general manager for Al Habtoor Leighton Group Qatar but this will now increase.
‘The World Cup will now ensure that the expenditure will be accelerated. There will also be increased expenditure in the building sectors for projects such as hotels which prior to the World Cup win were not previously forecast as being greatly required,’ he explained.
International firms will also be hopeful of securing major deals, although DSI’s Tabari said that the current regulatory environment makes it hard for external contractors to win the big projects at the moment.
‘It depends on how easy the regulations become. At present in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, it is very difficult for companies to come in, as it’s mainly regional and local firms,’ she said.
‘On the other hand, in Qatar, not a lot of companies have that expertise, particularly on the MEP and infrastructure side. There is going to be a lot of supply in terms of work, and I’m not sure that there are enough companies in the market to cope with that demand,’ she added.
Irish mechanical and electrical engineering company Mercury Engineering has already benefited from its work in Qatar. It came up with the zero-emission cooling system that reduced temperatures at the Doha 2022 Showcase Stadium, which played a key role in helping convince FIFA executives that the summer heat could be overcome.