Al Hilal Group terminates media deal with ME3

May 2018

Al Hilal Group, the publisher of Gulf Construction, Oil & Gas News and a number of other leading pan-regional trade publications in the GCC, has terminated its media relationship with ME3, the organiser of the Middle East Process Engineering Conference (Mepec) held in Bahrain every two years.

The decision follows a dispute between the two companies over what Al Hilal considers to be a serious breach of trust by ME3 in connection with the Gulf Downstream Association’s (GDA) International Downstream Conference & Exhibition which will be held in Bahrain in October this year.

Al Hilal Group is also the organiser of the highly successful Gulf Construction Expo, Interiors Expo, Gulf Property Show and the Gulf Industry Fair, the Northern Gulf’s premier shows in these segments.

Outlining Al Hilal’s position, the group’s director of public affairs Ahmed Suleiman said: “We entered into an understanding with ME3 that Al Hilal would, together with ME3, bid for the upcoming conference. This would put at the disposal of what was to be a joint venture between the two companies, the support of the media outlets within the remit of the Al Hilal Group and the established expertise of Hilal Conferences and Exhibitions to organise the event in Bahrain.

“We received personal assurances from ME3 managing director Alexis Neron-Bancel that following initial meetings with the GDA board, at which our joint credentials were submitted, ME3 would revert to us for detailed discussions.

“In this regard, ME3 failed to honour its commitment and unilaterally decided to make a sole bid for the contract to organise the GDA conference without involving or informing our company.”

“By their own admission, the inclusion of Al Hilal Group’s media assets in the early stages of bidding for the contract to organise the conference made a significant impact with the GDA board and ME3’s decision to then exclude our company from their own surreptitious bid to be the sole organiser for the event represents a level of duplicity which we as a company have never previously experienced in Bahrain,” said Suleiman.

“There is no doubt, in our opinion, from the correspondence between the two companies, that ME3 used Al Hilal’s good name and reputation to advance its own bid whilst in the process denying our company the opportunity to submit our own bid to organise the GDA event. This undoubtedly represents sharp practice and amounts to a serious breach of trust for which we are now taking legal advice,” he added.

Al Hilal Group has supported Mepec for the last two editions providing extensive promotional and PR support in the region’s leading oil gas publication, Oil & Gas News, as well as the group’s expertise in public relations to promote the event across the GCC.

“Al Hilal Group has taken the view that business is about trust and honesty and we can no longer maintain any kind of association with ME3 which has, as far as we are concerned, acted in a dishonest and duplicitous manner,” said Suleiman.

“Al Hilal has built an enviable reputation over the past 40 years founded on trust and integrity. As a company we have always prided ourselves on our media and event organising achievements and capabilities. It is sad to see a Dubai-based company resorting to such underhand tactics to win business in the kingdom,” he concluded.

Contacted by the Gulf Daily News Neron-Bancel did not respond but his business partner Fredrick Malgoire said: “We are at a point of strong disagreement, we have proposed several alternatives and now the time has come to stop talking.”

More Stories