This philosophy drove the company to “regroup around the core competencies” and geographic markets, as well as the clients, that it could confidently deliver to, he explains: “It’s all pretty basic, the things that we did.
But what my chairman said two years ago, was correct. That was my mandate – to refocus the business on its core competencies [and] in its core markets, and to deliver a long-term, sustainable profit. That’s what we’re working on.”
Already, the impact of Tyrwhitt’s vision is visible on the company’s performance and direction. In April, it was announced that Arabtec Holding’s subsidiary, Arabtec Engineering Services, had been awarded a $117.8m (AED433m) contract by Dubai Municipality for the DS188 Jebel Ali Industrial Sewerage and Drainage System.
This, after Arabtec Construction – another subsidiary – was appointed by Modon Properties as the main contractor for its Show Village project in Khalifa City. The company also divested its 14.6% stake in Jordan Wood Industries during in Q3 2017.
Tyrwhitt says the divestment decision was driven by the group’s efforts to refocus its resources: “We are not a fund manager, a hedge fund, or an investment vehicle – we’re a construction company, so we can only influence outcomes if we can control [the factors].
“It’s very important for us to have a controlling stake [through which] we can work on the synergies between the different business units, [and] the people we’ve got, and get the synergies and value from the shared services across the group. So having minority stakes in investments and other assets isn’t a fit within the Arabtec group.”
This focus is also benefiting Arabtec Holding’s subsidiaries, which Tyrwhitt says is achievable by “understanding truly what our value proposition is as a business”, as well as reviewing what the company does best.
Doing “everything”, he explains, isn’t necessary – but identifying the addressable market ahead, as well as studying its foreseeable tendering opportunities, should be a priority.
“Then, we’ve got to get the right people to be able to deliver against the opportunities that are there [in the market],” he continues. “The other thing that we need to do is have basic plans. Most of us are engineers, so we like following instructions [and] a path – we like having plans and specifications.”
These plans, Tyrwhitt explains, cover not only job targets that his team would like to win, but also to ensure that the company has “the people ready to go on to those jobs”. This approach is part of Arabtec’s 4-Gate Work-Winning Process, aimed at controlling the risks related to the company’s commercial and contractual commitments, as well as project completion.