PROFILE - CCC: Arab giant achieves global reach

29 July 1994

BACK in the early 1950s, the letters could have been mistaken for a typographical error. Today, they have come to represent a company that has annual revenues of more than $1,300 million and employs almost 30,000 people, worldwide.

Ove tha past four decades, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) has developed from a fledgling contractor based in Aden to the region's largest and most multinational contracting outfit. A recent survey carried out by the US weekly Engineering News Record ranked the group at number 26 among the top 50 international contractors. In both the Middle East and US markets, it was ranked eighth.

CCC was established by Kamel Abdel Rahman, Hasseeb Sabbagh and Said Khoury in 1952. Its corporate management headquarters have been based in Athens since 1974, the eve of the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war. Despite the move from Beirut, the group remains a registered Lebanese holding company, made up of four distinct elements.

These are:

Consolidated Contractors International Company. The largest group member, with a turnover of approximately $700 million a year, operates throughout the Middle East, Africa and the Far East. Its specialist fields of construction include power and desalination plants, oil and gas installations, roads and airports, and water and sewage plants.

Morganti Group. The US company was acquired in 1988, as part of CCC's push into the lucrative North American construction market. Its annual turnover of around $600 million is drawn from a range of municipal projects, such as hospital and prison construction. Morganti offers construction management, design and build and turnkey contracting services.

National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC). Based in Abu Dhabi, NPCC is a 70:30 venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and CCC. Managed by the Athens-based group, its core business is the offshore oil and gas sector, where it is involved in fabrication, installation and maintenance of platforms and pipe laying. Annual turnover is estimated at $300 million, with the Gulf and India providing the bulk of the business.

Acwa Services and Sicon. Located in the UK and Italy, the two companies act as the engineering arms for CCC, handling up to $20 million a year of engineering, procurement and construction business in Europe and the Middle East. Both specialise in water and effluent treatment systems, air pollution projects and oil and gas pipeline schemes.

CCC's geographical spread is wide, its range of services broad. It is poised for a mechanical contract on a Malaysian purified terephthalic acid plant and is working on a rural road project in Guinea Bissau.

However, the group's most important business area remains the Gulf. Over the past three years, revenues from the region have more than doubled to exceed $700 million, reflecting the company's success in a series of important hydrocarbon and power projects. The surge in activity has been the main factor in pushing CCC's total revenues up to $1,342 million in 1993, compared with just $454 million in 1990.

Orders have been secured on some of the region's most prestigious projects. In Abu Dhabi, the company has participated on three of the largest schemes to be implemented since the war for Kuwait. For the $1,000 million expansion of the Das island liquefaction plant, CCC scooped a $350 million share for the civils package. The main contractor was Japan's Chiyoda Corporation.

On the 1,200-MW Taweelah B power station scheme, it is part of the successful consortium, led by the Zurich-based ABB Asea Brown Boveri. Here, CCC's portion is worth $300 million.

Finally, it is working in the group led by the US' Bechtel, and including France's Technip, on the $1,400 million onshore gas development scheme. Its share amounts to $450 million.

Successful formula

The formula of working with the heavyweights of the engineering business has been successfully repeated elsewhere in the region. In Qatar, it is, as on Das island, carrying out the civils and mechanical packages for Chiyoda on the Qatar Liquefied Gas Company (Qatargas) plant at Ras Laffan. At the nearby Umm Said industrial zone, CCC's presence has been assured with the main civils subcontract from Technip for the Qatar Petrochemical Company (Qapco) project to expand ethylene capacity.

Its relationship with Bechtel has been particularly fruitful. In early June, the team picked up the $120 million contract for the Thamama C and F gas gathering and injection scheme in Abu Dhabi. This was followed a month later in Saudi Arabia, with three packages totalling $450 million on the Ras Tanura refinery upgrade.

CCC does not always team up with international partners for turnkey projects. In February, it was awarded a $100 million contract in Kuwait to supply and construct a 120-kilometre fuel pipeline for the 2,400-MW Subiya power station. Subsidiaries, such as Conco in Kuwait and CCC (Oman), have responsibility for implementing, road and other infrastructure projects in their local markets.

CCC's regional position is enhanced by the fact that it has a presence in almost every market. The network enables the group to keep close tabs on project developments. It also means that it is not totally dependent on one particular market, such as the Gulf, to fill its order books.

Fittingly, Lebanon is all set to become a new source of business. The contractor, in joint venture with Germany's Hochtief, is poised for a $500 million contract to expand Beirut airport. CCC's share will be 45 per cent of the contract value. The local subsidiary is also on the prequalification list for the $550 million project to rebuild infrastructure in the Beirut commercial district.

Further afield in Morocco, it is one of four international contractors shortlisted to construct a 500-kilometre gas pipeline linking North Africa to Spain.

CCC has come a long way from its humble beginnings in a British protectorate 42 years ago. The years of operating in the Middle East have earned the group an insight, experience and reference list that most other contractors can only dream of. It has also picked up several international standards, such as the accreditation to ISO 9002 from the BVQI, and achieved a series of safety records, including 5 million work hours on the Das island third train project without any lost time for accidents. Little wonder that today, it is at the forefront of the regional construction business.

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