El-Seif Group

23 May 2008

The Saudi conglomerate is expanding in an effort to combat soaring inflation

Company snapshot: El-Seif Group

  • Date established: 1951

  • Main business sectors: Construction, healthcare, medical equipment and commerce

  • Headquarters: Riyadh

  • CEO: Khaled Musaed al-Seif

The El-Seif Group has been operating in the kingdom since the early 1950s and is one of Saudi Arabia’s oldest companies. Initially involved in the commerce and transport sectors with a large vehicle fleet, it expanded in the 1970s to incorporate new companies in the fields of construction, maintenance, operations, healthcare, medical equipment, hospital supplies and commerce.

El-Seif Group structure

The group is split into four divisions: El-Seif Engineering & Contracting, El-Seif Development, Allied Medicals and Universal Advanced Systems. Its contracting division is one of the kingdom’s largest contractors and continues to win some of the key projects. It is involved in numerous high-profile developments and, among other jobs, it is bidding for civil and electrical work on the $1bn northern border fence contract.

El-Seif Development was set up in 1975 and signalled the entry of El-Seif into the healthcare market. In 1983, it was converted into a limited-liability company. It focuses on consultancy services and healthcare projects. It is also the sole distributor for a range of US companies such as GE Medical Systems & Equipment, Beckman Instruments, ARL and Cerner.

In line with anticipated growth in the healthcare market, the El-Seif Group launched Allied Medicals in the 1980s. The hospital operations division of El-Seif merged with Musaed El-Seif & Sons company, which in turn acquired Allied Medical Group and United Medical Enterprises to form one of the largest private healthcare companies in Saudi Arabia and the UK.

Away from the healthcare and construction sectors, Universal Advanced Systems focuses on the development, maintenance and implementation of defence and security systems.

El-Seif Group operations

El-Seif president and CEO Khaled al-Seif reports to a board of directors, and reporting to the president are five vice-presidents who work across business development, technical services, supply chain management, operations and resources.

The five operating group heads oversee operations within the Gulf, which are monitored by three executive directors, covering Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. The engineering, planning and tendering processes all run through the technical services and business development operations.

Construction remains the dominant sector of the company’s operations and within El-Seif Engineering & Contracting, the group offers a range of skills including project management, main contractor, EPC contractor, lump sum contracting, design and build, logistics, and mechanical and electrical work. In terms of service sectors, it covers oil and gas, power, desalination, housing and public infrastructure, military projects, port maintenance, dams, roads, airports and land investments.

These are managed through branch offices in Qatar, Lebanon, Bahrain, the UAE and Iraq.

El-Seif Group ambitions

To continue its growth and ensure the company is not unduly affected by the internal inflation hitting the kingdom’s economy, Al-Seif says the best approach is expansion.

This was typified by two recent agreements. In April, the El-Seif Group signed an agreement with Italian firm RDB to set up a joint venture in the kingdom. RDB specialises in prefabricated buildings and is one of Italy’s largest producers of concrete blocks and ready-made thermal insulation products. Under the agreement, a new company will be formed, RDB-El-Seif, which will manufacture and supply pre-cast concrete and materials, which will be used to construct prefabricated structures in civil and industrial projects.

Upcoming projects

$7bn - Projected cost of Saudi Landbridge. El-Seif is bidding for main construction package

$1bn - Value of northern border fence contract. El-Seif is bidding for civil and electrical work

$560m - Projected cost of Andalusia Square Towers. El-Seif is prequalified as main contractor

A new plant in Riyadh is expected to be operational in April 2009. Capacity is expected to be 130,000 cubic metres a year. RDB will provide technical and operational expertise in prefabricated reinforced components, while El-Seif will provide access to the kingdom for RDB and the commercial contacts that the venture requires.

The El-Seif Group has also signed a joint venture with the US’ GE Healthcare. The new venture, known as GE El-Seif Healthcare Arabia, will focus on the sale of GE Healthcare products in the kingdom. This agreement builds on an earlier joint venture of the two companies called GE El-Seif Medical services.

At the same time, the contracting arm of the group continues to pursue major projects in the region. In addition to bidding for key contracts such as the northern border fence, it is bidding for the Saudi Landbridge project - together with Saudi Binladin Group - and the SR600m ($160m) Lamar Towers project in Jeddah, the taller of which will reach 310 metres.

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