Successful diversification

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Anvwar Al Balushi, Group CEO, Majan Consolidated says that the success of his company comes from self-belief and determination to succeed, come what may. An OER report.

Of late, Majan Consolidated is in an upbeat mood thanks to the intervention of the Minister of Commerce and Industry to solve the additional gas supply to its subsidiary Hadid Majan, a steel rolling mill located in Rusayl Industrial Estate. This is a result of extensive efforts by Anvwar Al Balushi, group CEO, who left no stone unturned to negotiate extra gas for the expansion plans of Hadid Majan, which in a way is the flagship of the group.

“HE Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, had delegated a special team to solve this issue at the earliest and we are working hand in hand with the Ministry to resolve the gas crunch Hadid Majan is facing,” says Balushi. Established in 2003, Hadid Majan expanded its operations by launching its automatic steel rolling plant last year.

Now, this automatic plant, established at a cost of RO5mn, faced an uncertain future due to gas shortage. “But after the minster’s intervention, I feel that the gas crisis will be resolved soon. We may get at least half of what I have asked for so that I can increase the production by 150 per cent. This will cushion my present operational problems to an extent,” Balushi says.

“Hadid Majan started with a production capacity of 5,500 tonnes per month consuming 10,000 cubic meters of gas per day. Over the years it enhanced production and expansion and after 2008, we went into expansion. The expansion was for an additional 12,500 tons.

Based on the existing success, the plant is ready but we were waiting for gas. But now things are going positive. I can say that based on my request to the government, we can expect the allocation of gas, in two or three phases. Once the full allocation is done, our production will be three times the existing amount and the turnover will shoot up,” Balushi says.

According to him, Hadid Majan’s expansion is an indicator of the direction in which Majan Consolidated is progressing – on the growth path. “In 2008, when recession hit all around, we as a group were expanding full-fledged. We invested in Hadid Majan’s expansion, even though the demand for commodities was going down. We made plans to recruit staff and train them and further we continued to look for other investment opportunities,” Balushi points out while talking about the group’s performance in the last few years.

“Our new plan is to raise our Omanisation target upto 46 per cent within the next three to six months and also to provide inhouse training to the Omani staffs to make them more efficient and productive. In one and a half year’s time, we want to make it 58 per cent. By then our total staff strength will go up to 500 people. This will be a major contribution to the economy of the country,” Balushi discloses.

Diversification drive
The company has a simple policy for growth – diversify and expand. Under Balushi’s leadership, the group has ventured into education, healthcare, travel & tourism, real estate, agriculture and the entertainment industry. Presently, the group is involved in two antibiotic manufacturing projects – one in Buraimi and the other in Sohar, for animals and humans respectively – at a total cost of around RO7mn. The Buraimi plant is the first of its kind for the Sultanate.

The veterinary antibiotic plant, known as Muscat Pharma Manufacturing Co, has begun its trial production in Buraimi. “The Sohar antibiotic manufacturing plant, known as Drug Manufacturing Company, is export oriented. Presently this plant is in the construction stages and trial production will begin after a year,” informs Balushi.

Apart from the drug manufacturing companies, the group has plans to focus on the tourism industry with Jahloot resort, a multi-phase, development project plan.

The company has also received a verbal approval and waiting for an official letter from the concern authorities to expand the existing Riyam Park covering an area of 25,000 sq mtrs. It will feature several attractions catering to the entire family. These include the ‘Souq Square’ the eye of Riyam, the Giant rides, the skate board, the mountain climbing, ‘Water Theme Park’ the water tower, ‘Riyam Square’ the ship and ‘Children Fun Park’ the wheel.

The parent company of Majan Consolidated Companies is Wadi Muscat Trading and Contracting Enterprise incorporated in 1977. The company had been engaged in construction and related maintenance activities. Under its banner, the company has been operating Riyam Amusement Parks since 1995, which is one of the popular holiday destinations for the people residing in and around Muscat.

The group had also commissioned Hadid Majan, a steel manufacturing unit in 2003 to produce and supply high yield strength deformed steel bars under the name ‘Majan Steel Bars’ to infrastructure projects across Sultanate.

In 2006, the group took over a higher secondary school known as National Private School that has a history of over 25 solid years in Oman and today NPS is one of the best educational institutions in Oman. The school also has a primary school branch in the Mawaleh area.

Well deserved recognition
Balushi’s immense contributions to Majan Consolidated have been recognised regionally and internationally. He was the chief guest at the convocation ceremony of India’s Shri Balaji Society (it owns several international institutes and colleges) in January this year becoming the first Omani corporate personality to be invited for such an event. He was also included on the elite panel of the ‘2012 East Annual Financial Thought Leaders Summit’, in Dubai in March 2012.

Recently, Balushi was honoured the third rank in the Middle East and North Africa region as a ‘Revolutionary CEO of the Year’ category at the MENA CFO of the Year Awards 2012, which was organised by Naseba a dubai based french company who produces, promotes and hosts business summits, professional training courses and business exhibitions targeting executive level attendees across multiple industries. Naseba also has their ground presence in Monaco, Cairo, Riyadh, Bangalore Kaula lampur.

Al-Balushi became the first Omani to be selected for this prestigious honour. This was in recognition of Balushi’s accomplishments as an executive and entrepreneur with an experience in managing diverse business interests. The honour recognised his vast business experience in industries that include banking, steel manufacturing, education, travel and tourism, amusement, real estate, healthcare, construction, agriculture and mining.

“The man behind my success is my guide and teacher, our chairman HH Sayyid Barghash bin Said Al Said. Under his guidance and advice I have managed to do all this. If he had not given me an opportunity and a free hand I would not have been able to do anything. I thank him for the trust he has reposed in me,” Balushi says.

As part of its future plans, Majan Consolidated is also planning to start a media university in Muscat. Talks are underway with several educational institutes to find a good academic partner. The project cost of this university is expected to be around RO30mn.

“I want to stick to expansion and diversification. Because of my connections, I have lots of projects on hand. If I begin to work on them, it will take my whole lifetime. But I am all for growth and I will keep growing. Right now, we have plans to get into mining and hospitals,” Balushi says.

In the light of the achievements made by his company, Balushi says that his advice to young entrepreneurs is, don’t stop even if it is dark. If it is dark, just light a candle and keep going. Don’t make excuses because time is money and time is value. If there is a huge stone, make a staircase and climb over it.


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