Idicheria adds: “We will begin the pilot project with our own facilities. Simultaneously, we are also in discussion with a world-renowned company [to launch a solar company] to form a JV or partnership arrangement; it’s still early to disclose the details.”

To begin with, all of Al Shirawi Group’s buildings and assets will be going solar, which uses a significant amount of energy Valrani says. The solar project has also received support from the corporate and board level — which not only resonates with the plans of the UAE but also gives an insight of our future as a company, he adds.

A fair amount of the $27.25m will be reserved for the firm’s diversification into waste management. Valrani gives an insight as to why the firm decided to enter this space. “Waste management is sizable, and we believe in the city of Dubai which continues to witness tremendous expansion in population, which leads to waste generation, and that needs to be managed efficiently. We possess in-house skills that will differentiate us from our competitors,” he states.

The group believes it is well placed to enter this market as it will leverage its existing client relationships — as many as 350 active contracts.

“This gives us a big portfolio of potential clients to reach out to and we have the know-how and the ideas on how to further develop it. We will, eventually, enter waste processing and recycling as well. The goal is to create a strong FM company which will provide all services to our clients in-house,” Sarafopoulos adds.

Al Shirawi is also looking at expanding into other markets, and Valrani and the board have set sights east on the Indian market.

He explains: “Until now we have been UAE focused, but based on our five-year strategic plan we identified different markets we would like to operate in. India is one of those as it is one of the most attractive markets for us on multiple fronts. The Indian property market is developing rapidly from a high-end facilities management perspective. With the economic development going on there, we would like to be in India to meet those needs of the market. And we have given ourselves a five-year time frame to do that.”

Along with the Gulf countries, Valrani is also paying close attention to the African continent, particularly countries such as Egypt and Kenya.