Bahraini contractor makes UK debut in Salford
Suha Investments Group, a 40-year-old Bahraini holding company with interests spanning real estate and construction, has set up operations in Greater Manchester with a subsidiary, Suha Design and Build.
The UK offshoot was established last month and has an office at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays. It offers architectural, construction, facilities management and fit-out services to clients in the North West and beyond, and plans to open other offices in the UK in the coming months and years.
The parent company, based in Bahrain’s capital city Manama, is headed up by chairman Aref Sadeq and his family. It has 23 companies, net assets of more than £50m and £20m of annual revenues, according to a group spokesperson. Its companies have participated in the delivery of several high-profile developments in the Arabian Gulf state, such as the Wyndham Grand and K Hotels, and the Al Salam Hospital.
In the UK, Suha Design and Build is led by general manager Waqas Wasi, who is also group financial controller of Suha Investments, having joined the holding company last year.
He told Place North West: “The group has operated in Bahrain for almost four decades, so the market is pretty much saturated for us. There has been a long-held desire to expand out of the Gulf, perhaps to the US, UK, Asia or Australia.
“It just so happened that we had contacts in the UK, and in Greater Manchester specifically, so those contacts helped us to line up some projects, and here we are.
“More generally, construction activity in the UK has soared in the past 12 months, even amid Covid, and the North West has so far proven even busier and better than we expected.”
Greater Manchester is “centrally located”, Wasi added, enabling Suha Design and Build to service clients right across the UK while it builds up its pipeline of work.
The company is initially seeking commercial and residential contracts valued at between £500,000 and £2m. It has secured work so far on two residential schemes in the Stockport area, in Poynton and Marple, as well as a “large retail fit-out” project and two new-build industrial units in Warrington, alongside AEW Architects.
Wasi declined to reveal further details of the projects at this stage. Suha is also open to acquisitions of companies in the construction supply chain, and, in time, may look to expand its operations by acquiring land for development.
Such investments would need to provide a yield in the range of 8%-15% and be new-build, rather than refurbishment, projects. “We are a small company, but we have large financial backing from our parent,” the general manager said.
In addition to Wasi, Suha Design and Build employs two architects, one quantity surveyor, two project estimators and a business development manager, Michael McVey. The company is chaired by Bahrain-based Fahad Sadeq, who is also group financial and development director at Suha Investments.
Suha Design and Build will aim to supply building materials alongside its construction and architectural services provision, to provide a “one-stop solution for all residential and commercial construction projects”, it said.
The parent company’s business interests span property development and management, construction, trading, travel and tourism, fashion and department stores, supermarkets, electromechanical contracting, elevators, escalators, architectural consultation, health and education.