The last three years have seen HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, founder of KBW Investments, acquire —in short succession— an eclectic portfolio of investments in construction and technology companies from across Europe.
The spending spree began in 2014, when in short succession KBW acquired both the 150-year-old Italian tower crane manufacturer Raimondi Cranes, as well as a 50% stake in the Romania’s Arcadia Engineering — a firm poised to expand into the Gulf countries.
In the two years since, KBW has partnered with numerous other consultancy firms, and in June this year, allied itself with French technology firm Ascorel, which specialises in electronic systems designed to enhance the safety and efficiency of heavy equipment operations, and a company with a history of collaboration with Raimondi Cranes.
Heading up KBW and acquisitions like Raimondi Cranes (from an operational standpoint), and thus arguably the most suitable person to explain the strategy behind these acquisitions and partnerships is Prince Khaled’s right-hand man and the group CEO of KBW Investments, Ahmed Alkhoshaibi.
Taking it from the top, he explains: “Post-2008, I think most people will agree that the market conditions allowed for advantageous acquisitions in the construction sector, and KBW was keen to enter the segment.
“Prince Khaled saw the value that Raimondi Cranes, as a heritage company, would add to the portfolio. As cranes are needed for pretty much every type of development, crane manufacture is an extremely important pillar for the construction industry.
“Looking at it from a business perspective, cranes can be considered somewhat of an index as to how the overall construction sector is faring. When cranes are populating jobsites and being sold or hired consistently, it acts as a type of economic barometer and says good things about the sector’s health.”
This year, another important indicator of the industry’s health was the Bauma exhibition in Munich, where Raimondi unveiled its largest topless tower crane, the MRT189. With a maximum jib length of 65m and two versions, with capacities of 10t and 8t, it is the best current representation of Raimondi’s capacity for product innovation.
One feature of MRT189 crane highlighted by Raimondi’s technical and design teams is the increased safety during assembly and disassembly phases, and the 20% reduction in the total time taken for the installation of the upper part — which also reduced the number of operations undertaken at altitude.
A certain portion of the credit for these achievements lies with KBW Investments, which, upon acquiring Raimondi, immediately sought to capitalise on its talent base of skills, its technical excellence and its innovation.
Alkhoshaibi notes: “Since the acquisition of Raimondi, KBW has injected significant capital into the manufacturer. The bulk of this has been devoted to empowering the company’s R&D segment; resources have been allocated to that particular arm of the business to encourage innovation and optimal output.”
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