June 2, 2011

Mulk Holding Win Sharjah Economic Excellence Award

Fraser Brown

Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk, Chairman of Mulk Holdings, receives the Sharjah Economic Excellence Award from Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad on Wednesday.

Sharjah: Sharjah is showing signs of economic improvement following the global recession as it registered an increase in production and export levels, Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, told Gulf News.

"Economic growth was affected by the previous crisis, but now there are indications of improvement as manufacturing, production and export levels increase with the support of the government and local entities and under the direction of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah," he said on the sidelines of the ninth Sharjah Economic Excellence Award held yesterday.

The aim of the awards is to encourage competition, improve productivity and quality standards in the private sector and attract investors, he added.

During the ceremony, ten private companies were honoured for their outstanding work, business sustainability, competitiveness and best practices in 2010.

Shaikh Sultan presented awards to private Sharjah-based companies in the manufacturing, trade and services sectors. The categories were gold, large firm, small and medium firm and entrepreneurship awards while two companies walked away with certificates of appreciation.

Expansion


Unique Maritime Group, winner of the large firm category for the service sector, has grown from a small Sharjah-based firm in 1993 to an international group operating in the UK, US, Singapore and South Africa. Its clients include the UAE military and Dubai Municipality.

The company's annual turnover last year reached $100 million (Dh367 million). It employed 170 people, and trained them in specialised engineering services, said chief executive Harry Gandhi, citing the firm's contributions to the local economy.

"We expect 15 to 20 per cent growth due to the turnaround in the economy and recent acquisitions valued at over £10 million last year," he said.

TC Consultancy, winner of the small and medium firm category for the service sector, nailed the award after its third attempt.

"We improved on quality and customer satisfaction...and re-invested profits into the business," said Managing Director Thomas Chacko.

The engineering consultancy cited Sharjah's support for the SME industry. "We get repeat orders from the Ruler's office. We are established in the Sharjah International Airport Free Zone with annual rents frozen for 25 years. What more could you want?" said Chacko.

Homebase

The firm is now targeting projects in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and India. "These are areas of growth but Sharjah will always be our homebase," he said.

It counts among its clients the Sharjah Ruler's office, the Aquarium Museum, Sharjah Ladies Club and Sharjah's Public Works Department, he added.

Next year, the awards will launch under a new developmental model pending approval by the Crown Prince.

"This will come in a new identity in regard for contents, categories and standards that keep pace with global models and also take into account when applied the confidentiality and the nature of the activities and size of investments of the enterprises working in the emirate of Sharjah," said Mohammad Sultan Bin Huwaiden, board of trustees member at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Company promotes solar energy projects

Sharjah could soon have solar-powered street lights and government buildings, saving energy during the power cuts that plague the emirate in the summer.

Al Mulk Holdings, a Sharjah-based global conglomerate with a focus on developing solar energy systems, is in negotiations with the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) on various solar power projects.

"In the last two weeks we had interactions with Sewa to power street lights with solar energy and to provide government buildings with solar power," Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk, Chairman of Mulk Holdings, said on the sidelines of the Sharjah Economic Excellence Award. The main challenge to such projects is government regulations, he added.

"Government support is needed because solar energy is expensive," he said. "We want either government subsidies or the government to buy power back from the producer."

The firm has also proposed installing solar power units on residential rooftops to save electricity, said Khurram Nawab, managing partner of Mulf Holdings.

"If the government allows units on every rooftop in Sharjah, they can save on power. Putting rooftop units produces hundreds of megawatts of power, you don't need a power plant," he said.

Mulk Holdings has invested Dh400 million on solar power projects in the UAE, India and Europe, said Shaji Ul Mulk. The company won the manufacturing sector award for the large firm category.