Saudi firms rise demonstrates local companies can play major part in utility sector
The rise of Saudi Arabias Acwa Power to second in the MEED developer rankings is evidence of the developers continued growth in the GCCs power sector.
Already having been second in total equity capacity in the GCCs desalination sector, Acwa Powers displacement of Japans Marubeni to second place in the ranking conveys the remarkable rise of the developer, which was founded in 2004.
While the merger of the UKs International Power and Frances GDF Suez in 2011 has made its position unassailable at the top of the rankings, Acwa Powers growth above a host of large international power firms shows there is room for local companies to succeed in the regions private power sector.
The developers position in its local market is clear. Having won all but one of the last eight tendered private utility projects in Saudi Arabia, Acwa Powers domestic position was further strengthened in early 2013, when the government acquired a 20 per cent stake in the developer a move that was questioned by international developers seeking to penetrate the kingdoms lucrative utilities market.
The government investment will also have significantly increased the value of Acwa Power, ahead of its proposed initial public offering (IPO). With a strong domestic position established, the firm is now turning its attention to regional expansion. Having already picked up work in Oman and having acquired shares in its first UAE utility in 2014, the developer will be seeking to build on this in the coming years.
Regardless of how successful it is in its ambitious expansion goals, Acwa Powers rapid growth shows that local companies can compete and thrive in the regions utility sector.
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