07 August 2020

Interview - Ebrahim Sonde (Riyada Consulting)

View from the Middle East



Riyada Consulting is a leading advisory based in Manama, Bahrain. Since its establishment in 2001 Riyada Consulting has cemented its position as a trusted advisor to many regional and international clients – including Indian EPC firms like L&T, Punj Lloyd and Afcons among many others. EBRAHIM SONDE, VICE PRESIDENT, RIYADA CONSULTING spoke to SHRIKANT RAO about the prospects of Indian firms in the Gulf region.



Give us an understanding of the role played by your firm in the construction space?


The Riyada Group is a diversified group which is into different sectors like oil and gas, construction, banking and finance, IT and telecommunications. We are the sponsors in Bahrain for companies like Afcons. We are jointly bidding with L&T for the airport expansion project in Bahrain and are also working with Punj Lloyd in pipeline laying construction. We’re also an advisory and a local partner for these firms in many of these projects since this job requires a specialised company to execute it. So we take a small part of the sub-contracting work from them as well. We also supply equipment, material, local manpower or whatever is required by these companies.



What are the opportunities Indian firms will be looking for in the Gulf market?


In construction, there are a lot of infrastructure projects coming up in the Middle East market, especially in the Gulf, where Indian EPC firms have a sizeable presence.  I think there are a lot of opportunities for the companies to tap. There is for instance, the GCC railway project for which a lot of companies from India are bidding. There are a lot of projects happening in Saudi Arabia and there also couple of infrastructure projects coming up in Oman and elsewhere for construction companies to seek work. The governments of the Gulf countries are also looking at public-private partnerships wherein a lot of finance is required. I would say there is a lot of requirement in terms of implementation of construction projects.  



Can you name some Indian EPC firms with a huge presence in Bahrain and by extension in the GCC and the areas of opportunities in which they are involved?


In the GCC all the top companies from India find a place. Like L&T, Afcons, Shapoorji Pallonji Group, Punj Lloyd. There are also other companies from the second tier present in the Gulf region. Here in Bahrain Afcons was awarded a project two years back for $65 million – for the Mina Salman Interchange, which they completed well within time. They’re also bidding for a new project, the Alba Roundabout Project that is coming up shortly.  The tendering is going to happen soon in that project and a lot of Indian companies along with Afcons will be bidding for it. There is also a hospital project in Bahrain. A lot of companies including L&T are bidding for that project. There is a waste water treatment project (WWTP), STP projects which are coming up.  Then we have a lot of social housing and other infrastructural projects which will be coming up within this year.



How is the manpower situation right now in Bahrain?


The manpower situation is quite good.  Projects are being executed on time, especially if you see Afcons track record. I don’t see any hindrance when it comes to manpower.



What is the size of the development expected to take place in Bahrain? 


I estimate contracts around $1-2 billion would be signed within 2014.       





  • King Abdullah Economic City , KSA - $93bn
  • Lusail City, Qatar - $45bn
  • Qatar Metro/Rail Network - $36bn
  • Al Zour Refinery & Clean Fuel Project - $30.5bn
  • Oman Rail Network - $30bn
  • Jazan Economic City - $30bn    
  • Makkah Grand Mosque - $24.4bn
  • Duqm City, Port and Refinery - $20bn
  • Sadara Chemical Corp - $17.3bn
  • Jazan Refinery - $16bn     
  • Hamad International Airport - $15.5bn
  • Satorp Petrochemicals Cplx, Jubail - $14bn
  • Haramain High Speed Rail - $11.1bn
  • Ras Al Khair Aluminium Complex - $10.8bn
  • Jeddah Metro - $8.5bn
  • King Abdullah Financial District - $7.8bn
  • Riyadh Metro - $7-8bn
  • New Doha Port - $7.4bn
  • King Abdulaziz Intl Airport, Jeddah - $7.2bn
  • Abu Dhabi Metro/Light Railway - $7bn
  • Knowledge Economic City - $7bn
  • Jabal Omar Development - $5.3bn
  • Midfield Terminal Cplx, Abu Dhabi - $3.3bn



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