Privatisation of Saudi's power generation companies set to begin next year

The first of four companies to be created from Saudi Electricity Company’s generating business could be privatised by next year, according to a government official.

Abdullah Al Shehri, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Electricity & Co-Generation Regulatory Authority, said that the power generating arm is currently in the process of being hived off to the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Speaking on the sidelines of Meeds Leaders In Energy Reform summit in Dubai, Mr Al Shehri said it could happen within months.

“From this time, it may take three months, four months or whatever,” he said. “But the decision is already in process.”

At the same time, Saudi Electricity Company is dividing this business into four separate companies – each of which will be privatised and compete for customers across the kingdom.

“The SEC is now establishing the four companies. They are preparing for appointing their boards, the employees, which plants are going to be in which company. They are working on it so once the PIF takes over it is already there,” he said.

Mr Al Shehri said that the PIF will decide how and when these businesses will be brought to market, and whether they will be fully or partially privatised.

“The legacy of SEC is now about 60GW, so dividing it by four, it will make it in the range of 15-20GW in each one,” he said.

The businesses will not be split geographically, he said.

“They will be split all over the country to make the competition fair. They will be equal in the type of technology, they will be almost equal in production, in costings and accessibility to types of fuel.”

He expects that the first of these four companies is likely to be brought to market in 2017.

Although Saudi Electricity Company will retain control over electricity transmission and distribution, it is expected that once the four generating companies have been brought to market, there could be some private sector involvement in distribution in the future.

The kingdom’s National Transformation Plan has a target for the percentage of electricity generated through “strategic partners” to increase from its current level of 27 per cent to 100 per cent by 2020.

Electricity supply in Saudi Arabia has been growing at a rate of about 7 per cent a year and demand currently stands at about 62GW, according to Mr Al Shehri.

“We expect this demand to increase to more than 120GW by 2030,” he added, citing the fact that population growth is adding 500,000 new customers per year and that per capita growth is increasing because of demand for industry.

It is trying to meet this by boosting plant efficiency from a current level of 34 per cent to almost 43 per cent by 2020, and by diversifying sources of power. The kingdom has a target of generating 9.5GW through renewable energy sources by 2030, as well as developing nuclear power.

Eduardo van-Zeller Neto, a partner in the management consultancy Roland Berner, said that the transition towards privatisation in new markets is something that takes time.

“From experience of analysing European markets in the 1980s and 1990s, it is a big journey,” he said.

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Tech breakthroughs needed for solar power prices to continue falling

The downward momentum in pricing for solar energy projects is unlikely to continue without significant technological advances, according to one regional expert.

Sharath Coorg, a director of acquisitions and project fin­ance for Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power, said that solar prices have dropped by 90 per cent over the past decade, driven by much cheaper solar cells, government investments and economies of scale, with solar projects in the Middle East dwarfing earlier schemes in terms of size.

Developers looking to build 800 megawatts of solar power projects for the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority at the Mohammed bin Rashid Park set a new record of 2.99 US cents per kilowatt-hour in April this year.

This record was subsequently broken by a project in Chile, and again in September when a joint venture between Marubeni and Jinko bid 2.41 cents for the yet-to-be-awarded 350MW Sweihan solar project for the Abu Dhabi Electricity and Water Auth­ority.

“There’s a lot of discussion in the market about what we’ve seen in the past few months in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and whether it is sustainable or not,” said Mr Coorg.

“In my opinion, a lot of it is driven by record-low prices for silicon panels and low interest rates. If it has to go any lower than this, it has to be through technological changes – either in terms of panel efficiencies or better tracking mechanisms,” he said.

Tracking systems using algorithms to more accurately follow the sun would be one of the few ways that project developers could increase the amount of energy produced to drive prices lower, he said.

Daniel Zywietz, the chief executive of the Dubai solar generation rentals company Ener­where, said that solar installations now cost less than the fuel for a gas power plant, and were almost as cheap as coal. He argued that for renewables to become more established they need to be regarded as not only as a method for saving on fuel costs, but as a reliable source of energy in their own right.

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UAE can play banker to China's growing overseas ambitions, says Stanchart

The UAE can play a key role as a financial hub in China’s US$1 trillion One Belt, One Road strategy, according to a senior Standard Chartered executive.

The economic strategy unveiled in 2013 aims to boost trade and productivity between China and Eurasian economies extending into East Africa and Europe.

Stephen Pressley, the head of the lender’s regional corporate banking division, said the UAE was well positioned to benefit from being a conduit for trade flows between China and other economies, including many ­African nations.

“On the east coast of Africa, there are Chinese companies building railways, building roads, bidding on port developments and bidding to build power,” said Mr Pressley at an event held as part of the bank’s roadshow promoting the initiative. “But it’s quite early days. Our belief over the next two years is that you are going to see numerous examples of infrastructure developments led by Chinese companies.

He said that China is planning to invest about $1tn in infrastructure along these trade routes over the course of the next decade.

“Financing trade flows through the UAE using renminbi and the Chinese banks based here is something we expect to build over the coming years,” he said.

In September, Standard Chartered began direct trading between the UAE dirham and the renminbi, also known as the yuan. It also initiated trading between the renminbi and the ­Saudi riyal.

Henry Zhang, Standard Chartered’s head of corporate and institutional banking for China, described One Belt, One Road as “the next stage” of China’s growth plans after a 30-year per­iod of developing capital and knowledge of infrastructure benefits in its home markets.

“Many of these countries along the belt and road have a strong demand and urgency agenda to develop infrastructure,” he said. “They need expertise and they need money.”

Mr Pressley said that “every country on the belt will have a different reaction” to the initiative, but that in the Middle East he also foresaw considerable Chinese participation in ­Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision and its National Transformation Plan (NTP), as well as reciprocal ­Saudi investments in China.

“The 2030 vision talks a lot about privatisations and building more capacity in power plants, in ports. Our anticipation is that you are going to see a lot of Chinese contractors looking to bid aggressively into that whole 2030 Vision and the NTP,” he said.

There is already some evidence of substantial Chinese investment proposals into Middle East countries. Last month, China Fortune Land and Development (CFLD) said it would build a new 70 square kilometre industrial city in Egypt’s new admin­istrative capital.

The project, which is reportedly worth $20bn over 10 years, will involve the firm designing, building and managing the new city. It is expected to start on site next year, and be the first of a number of new industrial cities planned by CFLD under One Belt, One Road.

It also has agreements in place to develop industrial cities in India and Vietnam.

Zhao Hongjing, the president of CFLD International, said the deal was “of great significance to deepening China-Egypt industrial capacity cooperation and promoting regional economic development”.

CFLD’s deal followed a 50-year agreement signed in Oman in May for a new, $10.7bn indus­trial city in Duqm. It is being built by a public-private consortium of firms from China’s Ningxia region.

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Laing O'Rourke gets nod for Expo 2020 mall and hotels complex in Dubai

Laing O’Rourke has been named as the preferred bidder to build a new retail and hospitality project, on a site that forms part of the Expo2020 master plan.

The contractor, based in the UK, has been appointed to build a 216,340 square metre shopping mall, associated car park and two hotels for a development company that is a joint venture between the Dubai World Trade Centre and Emaar Properties.

The firm’s agreement with the joint venture will involve it working directly with the project’s design team to develop the scheme on a fast-track ­basis.

“It’s very exciting to be named preferred bidder for the new retail and hospitality development, as it will be one of the main lifestyle hubs in the heart of one of the largest developments in the Middle East,” said Mark Andrews, the managing director of Laing O’Rourke’s Middle East business.

“The master plan for Dubai South is impressive and we look forward to working alongside the client and all stakeholders to ensure this project is delivered to the highest quality.”

Dubai South is a 145 sq kilometre city that contains the Expo2020 master-planned site and Al Maktoum International Airport, which is set to be the world’s biggest airport once it is completely built out.

The Expo site will have one main pavilion, Al Wasl Plaza, which has been designed by the Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava. There will also be three pavilions linked to key Expo themes – a sustainability pavilion designed by Grimshaw Architects, a mobility pavilion designed by Foster + Partners and an opportunity pavilion by Danish architecture firm BIG.

In September, Expo 2020’s vice president of legacy, Marjan Faidooni, revealed that 80 per cent of the investment in the Expo site will be reused, including its pavilions.

The main part of the site will be dedicated to conference and exhibition space, and many of the pavilions donated to poorer nations will become collaborative workspaces.

The mobility pavilion will become a logistics-focused education institute and the sustainability pavilion will be what is described as a science “exploratorium”.

Expo bosses have also pledged that more than 20 per cent of direct and indirect spending on Expo 2020 – about Dh5 billion in total – will be allocated to SMEs.

Speaking at a Dubai Investment Forum event last week, the Expo 2020 executive director Najeeb Al Ali said that an e-sourcing portal created to allow companies of all sizes to bid for work now has 8,500 firms registered and that 2,000 of these are SMEs.

“We want all kinds of opportunities so that when we produce the things that we produce – from construction to content – we have all of these capabilities on the ground.”

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Reits open Saudi property market to smaller investors

The creation of real estate investment trusts (Reits) in Saudi Arabia will open up the property market to smaller investors and support government efforts to resolve a housing shortage, experts said yesterday.

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has put in place a new set of rules allowing for the formation of Reits on the kingdom’s stock exchange, according to an announcement made by the regulator on Sunday. The CMA stated that the closed-end funds are being introduced as part of its efforts to develop capital markets, as well as introducing new investment instruments in line with Saudi’s National Transformation Plan.

Its rules state that funds must have a minimum size of 100 million Saudi riyals (Dh97.9m), and that at least 75 per cent of this must be invested in assets within the kingdom. Funds will not be allowed to invest in raw land assets, and only 25 per cent can be used to fund development projects. There are also restrictions on leverage, with debts not allowed to exceed a ceiling of 50 per cent of a fund’s assets.

Funds will be invested mainly in commercial assets such as offices or retail, but can also be placed in build-to-lease residential schemes. Up to 90 per cent of profits generated will be periodically redistributed to investors.

Jamil Ghaznawi, national dir­ector and country head of JLL in Saudi Arabia, said that although the trusts will be open to international investors, he expects demand to come mainly from Saudi nationals.

He said that Reits “will open the market to smaller investors who are looking for a more sec­ured revenue streams from real estate”.

Saudi Arabia has set ambitious targets as part of its National Transformation Plan. It is looking to double the contribution that real estate makes to the country’s GDP – to 10 per cent by 2020 from 5 per cent currently.

The kingdom also wants to increase the percentage of housing paid for by developers to 30 per cent from its current level of 10 per cent. Development funding is more likely to come from real estate funds (whose structures were outlined by the CMA a few months ago) than Reits, but Chris Webb, a Riyadh-based associate with law firm Al Tamimi & Co, explained that ” by providing liquidity it certainly assists” development projects.

“There is a housing shortage and the reason that has been identified for this is a shortage in real estate finance. This development is one of a whole suite which is designed to make property financing in Saudi Arabia easier. Developers will know that there is more money in the market at the end of the project,” he said.

Mr Ghaznawi said that he expects the market for Reits to develop quickly.

“We know about a couple of funds who have started actively structuring investments and they are about to submit to the CMA for approval. I think they will come to the market within the next three months.”

One of these could poten­tially be run by Equitativa Real Estate, the parent company of the management business running Emirates Reit.

Sylvain Vieujot, the chief executive of Emirates Reit, said that it had been following developments in the Saudi market for some time.

“It’s one of the big local markets so it clearly is of interest. We are talking to many potential local partners over there,” he said.

Joseph Morris, the Middle East head of capital markets for Knight Frank, said that the introduction of Reits in the kingdom “will not only provide access to institutional real estate to individual investors – offering real diversity that is difficult to achieve for most private investors – but also offer new funding routes to developers [which will] alleviate the traditional reliance on the banking sector for development finance”.

He added that the transparent proposed structure of Saudi Arabia’s Reits, with 90 per cent of profits being funnelled back to investors annually, would be “an attractive proposition as the global search for income continues”.

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Saudi market regulator opens field for Reits

The creation of Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits) in Saudi Arabia will open up the property market to smaller investors and support government efforts to resolve a housing shortage, experts said on Monday.

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has put in place a new set of rules allowing for the formation of Reits on the kingdom’s stock exchange, according to an announcement made by the regulator on Sunday. The CMA stated that the closed-end funds are being introduced as part of its efforts to develop capital markets, as well as introducing new investment instruments in line with Saudi’s National Transformation Plan.

Its rules state that funds must have a minimum size of 100 million Saudi riyals (Dh97.9m), and that at least 75 per cent of this must be invested in assets within the kingdom. Funds will not be allowed to invest in raw land assets, and only 25 per cent can be used to fund development projects. There are also restrictions on leverage, with debts not allowed to exceed a ceiling of 50 per cent of a fund’s assets.

Funds will be invested mainly in commercial assets such as offices or retail, but can also be placed in build-to-lease residential schemes. Up to 90 per cent of profits generated will be periodically redistributed to investors.

Jamil Ghaznawi, national dir­ector and country head of JLL in Saudi Arabia, said that although the trusts will be open to international investors, he expects demand to come mainly from Saudi nationals.

He said that Reits “will open the market to smaller investors who are looking for a more sec­ured revenue streams from real estate”.

Saudi Arabia has set ambitious targets as part of its National Transformation Plan. It is looking to double the contribution that real estate makes to the country’s GDP – to 10 per cent by 2020 from 5 per cent currently.

The kingdom also wants to increase the percentage of housing paid for by developers to 30 per cent from its current level of 10 per cent. Development funding is more likely to come from real estate funds (whose structures were outlined by the CMA a few months ago) than Reits, but Chris Webb, a Riyadh-based associate with law firm Al Tamimi & Co, explained that ” by providing liquidity it certainly assists” development projects.

“There is a housing shortage and the reason that has been identified for this is a shortage in real estate finance. This development is one of a whole suite which is designed to make property financing in Saudi Arabia easier. Developers will know that there is more money in the market at the end of the project,” he said.

Mr Ghaznawi said that he expects the market for Reits to develop quickly.

“We know about a couple of funds who have started actively structuring investments and they are about to submit to the CMA for approval. I think they will come to the market within the next three months.”

One of these could poten­tially be run by Equitativa Real Estate, the parent company of the management business running Emirates Reit.

Sylvain Vieujot, the chief executive of Emirates Reit, said that it had been following developments in the Saudi market for some time.

“It’s one of the big local markets so it clearly is of interest. We are talking to many potential local partners over there,” he said.

Joseph Morris, the Middle East head of capital markets for Knight Frank, said that the introduction of Reits in the kingdom “will not only provide access to institutional real estate to individual investors – offering real diversity that is difficult to achieve for most private investors – but also offer new funding routes to developers [which will] alleviate the traditional reliance on the banking sector for development finance.

He added that the transparent proposed structure of Saudi Arabia’s Reits, with 90 per cent of profits being funnelled back to investors annually, would be “an attractive proposition as the global search for income continues”.

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Damac launches three-bed Akoya Fresh villas for Dh1.2 million

Damac Properties has announced the launch of a series of new three-bedroom villas at its Akoya Oxygen master development in Dubailand.

The company on Saturday said the Akoya Fresh villas have been targeted at young professional couples and families with a starting price of Dh1.2 million, which is payable over three years.

Each villa will have separate kitchen and living areas, and its own back yard. They also come with a plot deed for the accompanying land.

“These villas are very suitably-priced for young couples wishing to purchase their first home in Dubai,” said Tim Fallon, the vice-president of corporate communications for Damac Properties. “At this price, a new home-seeker would have the choice to own a villa in a thriving golf community and all of its benefits rather than buying an apartment.”

Akoya Oxygen is a 55-million-square foot masterplanned community off Al Qudra Road. The project is home to a Trump World Golf Club with a course designed by Tiger Woods, a man-made rainforest and an entertainment district know as Vista Lux.

Akoya Fresh is one of a number of recent project launches of budget accommodation aimed at younger buyers at Akoya Oxygen. This month, the firm launched another series of three-bedroom villas for Dh1.2m called Akoya Selfie, and last month it unveiled three-bedroom villas known as Akoya Imagine 2.0 for Dh999,999. In August, it also announced the sale of Akoya Imagine land plots from Dh600,000.

The Akoya Fresh properties will go on sale at the Four Seasons Jumeirah hotel in Dubai and at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi from midday on Monday.

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GSA targets Spain for expansion in student property

GSA Group, the developer and investor in student property based in Dubai, is targeting Spain as its next major international growth market.

The company, which alongside Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC bought portfolios in the UK and Germany this month containing 4,600 student beds and 5,000 more under development, is looking to acquire more properties across Europe and to push into the US, as well as broaden its footprint in the UAE.

Founder and chairman Nicholas Porter said that “Spain is a good example” of a market where he sees potential for opening new purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA).

“We like that market and the markets within. And ultimately our fight over the next two or three years will be to the US as well – bringing new product and new thinking to the US market. It’s not about being all over the US. It’s about being in major centres that continue to grow and attract both domestic and international students.”

Mr Porter was the founder of UK-based Unite Group, which was a big player in the development of the PBSA sector in the UK in the 1990s and 2000s. Unite now has about 50,000 student beds in its portfolio, and 5,000 more under development.

He left the firm in 2009 – one year after setting up GSA Group in a bid to develop the PBSA sector globally. The company has interests in seven countries, but envisages scope for much greater growth and has a target to have 250,000 student beds under management by 2025.

Much of this will be in markets such as Germany, where there are few existing PBSA buildings.

“Germany is where the UK market was about 20 years ago in terms of accommodation,” said Mr Porter. “It has a great higher education system and a huge amount of credibility, but accommodation-wise it is very much first generation.”

However, even in more developed markets such as the UK, Mr Porter sees opportunities both for new schemes and for replacing some of the first wave of PBSA stock that was built in the 1990s. A World Student Housing report published by property consultancy Savills this month stated that 2015 was a record year for student property, with $15 billion invested in the sector. There was $8bn worth of investment in the first eight months of 2016. Despite this, it argued that supply remains low, with provision rates (beds per enrolled students) ranging from 24 per cent in the UK to just 6 per cent in Spain.

James Hanmer, the head of UK student accommodation at Savills, said that one reason that rates in Spain were lower than in other European countries is that the number of international students studying there is lower than in other major European countries at about 75,000, compared with between 300,000 or 400,000 in the UK, France or Germany.

Another is that “a lot of the students are living at home and going to the local university”.

However, he argues that there are substantial opportunities for the sector’s development across continental Europe.

“In Europe you are still getting that first-over advantage … there’s not much competition,” said Mr Hammer. “But you are higher up the risk curve because it is not a product that is wholly proven in terms of demand.”

The Savills report also highlights the UAE as the market with the most branch campuses of overseas universities – 42, compared with 37 in China and 17 in Malaysia.

Mr Porter said that the company is still searching for a site for its second Dubai campus, and believes the market could accommodate many more.

“We’re looking at 3,000-4,000 beds in Dubai, and we certainly want to be in Abu Dhabi as well. And from the UAE we’ll look at select markets as they open up around the GCC.”

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Dubai's Dh12.5bn tunnel project likely to start next year

Dubai is bucking the regional purse-tightening trend and pressing ahead with at least three big-ticket infrastructure schemes worth about Dh15 billion, in a push to modernise the emirate.

Speaking at the Dubai Investment Forum on Tuesday, the director general of Dubai Municipality, Hussain Lootah, said that a Dh12.5bn storm water tunnel network project and a new Dh2.1bn waste-to-energy plant were just two of the projects likely to start on site within the next 12 months.

“One of the biggest projects we are going to launch, probably by the end of next year, is the deep tunnel,” Mr Lootah said.

He added that the project will be developed in two phases.

The project involves the construction of two, deep tunnels underneath the city with a combined length of 75 kilometres, supported by 140km of sewers and pumping stations. One tunnel will run from Bur Dubai through most of “new Dubai” to a treatment plant at Jebel Ali, and the other will run through Deira, beneath Dubai International Airport, to a treatment plant at Al Warsan. The tunnel depths will range from five metres to 90 metres, and the tunnels could be up to 10 metres wide. This will allow for a train system to be installed that could transport cargo beneath the city during its prolonged dry season.

Mr Lootah said that “as Dubai is growing so fast, and so much projects [are] coming, we are facing a problem in accommodating all of these”.

He said new projects could all be plugged into to this drainage network, which would remove the requirement for the 140 existing pumping stations.

“This project is going to give a service for the city of Dubai between 60 to 100 years coming,” he said. It is likely to take seven years to complete.

Mr Lootah also said that work on the waste-to-energy plant proposed for Dubai is likely to get underway next year. “We have the project in tender right now,” he said.

It will burn non-organic waste and be capable of generating about 600 megawatts of power. It is expected to be commissioned in the third quarter of 2020.

A Dh980m project to convert more landfill gas into energy is also being brought forward. Mr Lootah said the city currently produces one MW of energy from landfills, but that once new facilities come on stream this could increase to 12MW. This project is likely to be completed by the second quarter of 2018.

This month, BMI Research upgraded its forecast for the UAE construction sector. It now expects average growth over the next ten years to be 5.2 per cent per year, compared with 4.7 per cent previously.

Patrick McKinney, the head of Gulf states for Dutch-headquartered contractor BAM International, said his company had focused more of its resources on winning work in Dubai over the past 12 months

“Quite frankly, I don’t think it has slowed down at all on infrastructure spend in Dubai. There seems to be a lot of stuff in the market and they are pressing ahead,” he said.

“There has been a slowdown in other parts of the Middle East, for sure, but Dubai has been relatively buoyant.”

Colin Timmons, the chief executive of Al Naboodah Construction, said infrastructure work is coming from several sources, including Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, and from private companies looking for infrastructure to be installed in new masterplanned communities.

“I think we’re all thinking if this all goes, there’s not enough contractors in town. There’s a healthy workload to come,” Mr Timmons said.

“There’s no shortage of infrastructure enquiries, but the old chestnut is at what price? Everyone is working on tight budgets.”

Neil Reynolds, the Mena and India managing director of consultancy firm CH2M Hill, said that Expo 2020 is helping to spur many construction projects. “We expect this trend to continue as the date of the Expo nears.”

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Off hours: Family ties offer relaxation and inspiration to Dubai developer

Mahmood Shaikhani is the managing director of Dubai-based Shaikhani Group, a family business with trading units involved in property, contracting and building materials. The group was founded by his father, Abu Baker Shaikhani in 1978, and Mr Shaikhani took over the reins of the company in 2004. Originally from Pakistan, the 38-year-old has lived in the UAE for 15 years and is married with three children, a daughter, 13, and two sons, eight and three.

How do you spend your weekend?

I spend most of my time with my kids and visit my mother, who lives in Ajman. I spend Thursday evening and Friday with my mother, brothers and the entire extended family, and on Friday evening I take my children out.

How did you become a managing director?​​

I came to Dubai in 2001 after completing my studies at London’s Metropolitan University. When I got to the air-conditioned office on my first day at work, well-attired in a business suit and tie, my father politely asked me to change into the overalls worn by shop floor personnel. He then directed me to the Rubber World Industries factory, which manufactures the Gulf-O-Flex rubber insulation system in the Gulf and South East Asia.

There I went through the paces working under the operations manager. I toiled alongside my colleagues in the plant’s premises braving stifling heat, grime, long and hard hours of manual labour and the strong odour of chemicals. This prepared me for the major responsibilities and challenges that I would undertake in the future as a managing director. I am carrying my father’s legacy as far as I can, and so far we are doing very well.

What was the lowest point of your career?

When my father passed away, it was the most defining moment in my life. He taught me everything I know and his untimely death created a huge void that can never be filled. My father had vast experience and was a treasure trove of wisdom. He imparted invaluable lessons of life that continue to guide me and are an integral part of my success.

What advice would you offer others starting out in your business?

Always believe in yourself and accomplish what you set out to achieve. I will share a piece of advice that was given to me by my father. I used to be an aggressive decision maker but my father told me not to take decisions in a hurry. Although sometimes one needs to take “immediate” decisions, it is imperative to analyse the future impact before taking a call.

What is your go-to gadget?

My iPhone. It’s a complete ecosystem, I manage all my communications from it and the apps are wonderful. My favourites are TripAdvisor and Booking.com.

What is your most indulgent habit?

I have to finish what I start. Until I finish something, I am on it – be it work, a project or some personal goal. For instance, I use a Fitbit to monitor the steps I have taken and I make sure I have walked 10,000 steps a day.

What do you have on your desk at work? 

Magazines, employee papers and a calculator.

What can’t you live without?

My kids, my family and my friends. I love to spend quality time with my children. I also make it a point to speak with my mother on a daily basis, no matter which part of the world I am in. It takes me back in time to when I was a child and all I needed to hear was my mother’s voice to make all my troubles go away. It feels the same even today. It puts me at ease, I feel secure and at peace with the world.

How do you achieve a work-life balance?

I use my mobile phone to manage all my important appointments. After work, I spend my time listening to my kids – their stories from the day such as their activities at school, their friends. I love listening to them. On weekends, I take my family out, meet my friends and just enjoy socialising.

If you could swap jobs with anyone, who would it be and why?

I love my work too much and there is no need for me to swap, but if I did, I would be the prime minister of Pakistan. I would love to serve my country and make a difference to people’s lives, change the mindset of the people and make it a better place.

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