|The Kharafi groupís activities include
major construction projects.
one of the worlds leading business
personalities, Nasser Muhamed Al-Kharafi
puts no limit on his ambitions for the international
conglomerate that he heads. As the Chairman
Kharafi & Sons, he would like to
see the family-owned, multi-sector groupcurrent
turnover approximately $4 billiondouble,
or even treble, in size.
in Kuwait going back more than 100 years,
the Al-Kharafi group is active in virtually
every sector of the emirates economy.
Its interests range from engineering and
construction, agribusiness and food industries,
finance and banking to manufacturing and
industry, real estate, infrastructure, tourism,
leisure, and hospitality.
one of the largest contracting groups in
the Middle East and a major player in BOT
(build-operate-transfer) schemes in the
region, but its activities extend much further,
to South Africa and Europe.
Kuwait is a very small market, the only
way of developing the group was to go international
and take risks, as well as assuming the
huge potential of the regional market,
explains Mr. Al-Kharafi. First we
ventured into other Gulf countriesSaudi
Arabia, the United Arab Emiratesand
then to Egypt and on to South Africa.
The group has
established a track record for handling
major projects. In Kuwait itself, it recently
completed the new Sulaibiya sewage treatment
plant, the largest reverse osmosis complex
in the world. The $447.5 million facility
will provide for 26% of Kuwait's overall
water demand. It was built in partnership
with the U.S. company Ionicsone of
a number of partnerships undertaken by Al-Kharafi
with American companies.
have equity with us and we bought technology
from them for the reverse osmosis process,
says Mr. Al-Kharafi. The project was
finished three months ahead of schedule
and has been a great success.
|NASSER MUHAMED AL-KHARAFI
Chairman of M.A. Kharafi & Sons
The group is
also building the new Al-Shaikh Jaber Al-Ahmed
International Stadium, to the south of Kuwait
City. Due for completion next year, the
KD 55 million ($190 million) hi-tech stadium
will be equipped to stage the biggest regional
and international sports events before 60,000
believes there are many opportunities for
American companies in the region.
subsidiary company, Americana, the largest
food company in the Middle East, the Al-Kharafi
Group owns the franchise for Pizza Hut,
Kentucky Fried Chicken, TGI Friday's, Hardees,
and several other U.S.-based fast food chains
in the region. The consumer goods it produces
include Heinz Ketchup and Cadburys
chocolate. Americana has reached annual
sales of $1 billion dollars through 600
outlets in 11 Arab countries.
with Wimpy and then it developed into Kentucky
Fried Chicken, Hardees, and Pizza Hut,
recalls Mr. Al-Kharafi. We went into
the industry convinced of what we were doing.
group is one of the largest foreign direct
investors in Egypt, with assets and investments
totaling approximately $1.8 billion. Its
most recent projects include the new Marsa
Alam International AirportEgypts
first successful BOT transportation project,
for which it holds a 40 year concessionand
the Port Ghalib International Marina.
is the largest single shareholder in the
Marsa Alam Tourism Development Company (MATD),
which is developing the 12-mile stretch
of Red Sea coastal land in which Port Ghalib
is involved in reconstruction in Iraq through
its Kharafi National company, which provides
engineering, construction and maintenance
services to the petroleum, chemicals, power,
water and commercial industries. Kharafi
National is working as a subcontractor for
a subsidiary company of Halliburton on a
U.S. Army-awarded contract to rebuild Iraqs
The National Bank of Kuwait, in which the
Al-Kharafi Group owns an estimated 16%,
is part of a consortium of banks that is
rebuilding the banking market in Iraq.
further afield by Al-Kharafi companies include
the building of hotels, tourist villages
and a holiday resort in Albania, and the
development of a $200 million golf and residential
estate in South Africa.
has been very active overseas for a long
time, says Mr. Al-Kharafi. Thats
where our capacities lie. It makes sense
to go to developing countries. They are
the perfect places to find abundant opportunities.