FOLLOWING another pivotal year in its history, Bahrain-headquartered Arabian International Mechanical Contracting Establishment (AIMC) is looking at spreading its wings further in the region by establishing a full-fledged office in Saudi Arabia before the end of the year.
The new office, which is expected to be located in the Eastern Province, will aim to serve major clients in the kingdom, including the industrial and petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), for which it is already prequalified.
In keeping with its proactive strategy to upgrade its operational and technical expertise, the company – headed by group general manager Rajan Sharma – last year established a civil engineering division, thereby closing the circle on its engineering capabilities and creating arguably one of Bahrain’s most diverse engineering and mechanical contracting service providers.
“The civil division has given us full lifecycle capabilities, complementing and further supporting our mechanical side, to provide a seamless solution to clients’ most diverse and stringent requirements,” says Robin Walton, manager – engineering and export initiative at AIMC.
The new division, headed by Raman Sharma, has a dedicated team of civil engineers and quantity surveyors, and is helping the company is build on its long-standing reputation for high-quality mechanical engineering and fabrication of steel structures, coded vessels, tanks, silos and pipelines through to turnkey installation services for clients in the kingdom and across the region.
In addition to client-side benefits, Walton acknowledges the spin-off advantages a dedicated civil engineering division offers to the company, particularly within the context of a challenging business environment and ever-changing market conditions.
“By providing civil services in-house, we are able to better control costs and margins, and this is an important factor in a competitive, aggressively price-driven market which we experience,” he says.
The new division is fully integrated into AIMC’s hands-on, client-centric approach, where going the extra mile to achieve client objectives is standard operational procedure.
“We treat our clients as partners. When required and where possible, we involve them throughout the project, for example providing access to designs and drawings and the finer details at every stage of civil works or fabrication projects,” Walton explains.
“Our advanced design services are underpinned by both AutoCAD and Tekla, which is a model-based software for the construction, infrastructure and energy industries that generates 3D drawings of steel structures and equipment for clients.
“In fact, we strive to develop synergies with the client and cater to their wider needs and increase the ‘feel good’ factor throughout the project lifecycle,” he adds.
He points out that AIMC’s strictly applied JIT (just in time) policy provides clients with the comfort that a job will be completed within deadline, every time.
“It is not just about avoiding penalty clauses – it is about building a reputation for adhering to those things, such as deadlines and conforming to safety regulations which matter most to clients. That’s why we get a lot of referrals from satisfied clients, and even recommendations for joint venture partnerships,” Walton explains.
The company says it has, since inception, built a reputation as a single source for engineering and fabrication of custom-made and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) industrial equipment using structural materials of all grades of carbon and stainless steels, high strength and various other alloys for diverse industries up to precision micron surface finishing such as is required in the food and pharmaceutical sectors.
AIMC is one of few local companies authorised and certified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to “AA”, “PP”, “R”, “S”, “U” levels, enabling it to produce coded (pressure) vessels, the manufacture, assembly and installation of high pressure pipelines for the oil and gas, petrochemical and related industries.
In the industrial, commercial and residential construction and MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) sector, AIMC says it offers discerning clients, the full gambit of options involving project management, design service, through to turnkey projects. This encompasses civil engineering works, commercial and residential buildings, industrial buildings, large warehouses, custom-made steel-framed buildings, engineering workshops, refrigeration warehouses, mezzanine floors, cold storage facilities, chemical process plants, structural fabrication, reinforced concrete floor sections, processing factories to pharma and food industry standards, complete MEP installations including HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning), supply and installation of engineering and production equipment where specified, and overhead crane support structure fabrication with installation. Cast concrete and block work walling, cladding, roof and wall insulation and fire-retardant technology form part of the civils brief.
AIMC is an ISO 9001:2008-certified company and adds that quality lies at the heart of its philosophy. Its skilled workforce conforms strictly to a quality policy and safety manual for every project, ensuring a consistency of procedure and end-result which gives clients the certainty they demand on projects of any size or scope.
Such attributes and experience should serve AIMC well as it navigates what Walton expects to be a challenging yet exciting 2014 when its geographical expansion plans take shape into Saudi Arabia and Oman.
A subsidiary company has been registered in Oman, with an office expected to open shortly, handling civil and mechanical engineering disciplines, ultimately supported by a dedicated fabrication yard, to serve what Walton describes as “a relatively untapped market”.
AIMC’s workforce of circa 250, which includes executive managers, mechanical and civil engineers, design team and skilled craftsmen who well understand and execute specific assignments, is also expected to grow to some 400 by the end of this year in response to real and anticipated market demand, he notes.
New geographical markets should help diversify AIMC’s revenues, about 80 per cent of which are currently sourced within Bahrain, where engineering services are provided for both local and international companies who care to establish capital production facilities.
Recently, AIMC fabricated and installed the majority of the processing equipment and installed the boiler unit for a sugar refinery. A fused alumina plant was recently established in the kingdom and the company again manufactured and installed the majority of the production flow equipment and the civil division constructed a special process purpose four-storey building.
AIMC is pre-approved to contract to, supply to and operate to stringent laid down procedures within Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), Bahrain National Gas Company (Banagas), Tatweer Petroleum and several government authorities such as the Ministry of Works and Electricity and Water Authority (EWA).
Last year, AIMC exported some 2,000 tonnes of structural steel, conveyors and processing equipment, roughly half of which went to Canada, with a significant percentage also exported to other parts of the Middle East and Africa.
With sound foundations and a proven track record, a highly motivated and proactive executive management team and a skilled, committed workforce, AIMC appears to have all the necessary ingredients to make further inroads in local, regional and international markets.