Construction firms must be financially sound, prudent in taking overseas jobs

SERI KEMBANGAN (Nov 29): Construction companies keen to undertake overseas projects should not only be financially sound but must be also prudent and careful when taking up these projects, says a leading industry player.

Sharing his experiences, Eversendai Corporation Bhd's group managing director Datuk AK Nathan said doing overseas jobs came with their own set of challenges.

"If one can take extra care, have a hands-on approach from top level and have reliable and trustworthy people to manage, yes, one can be successful in the international market," he told Bernama on the sidelines of the International Constructional Steel Conference (ICSC) 2012 here Wednesday.

Nathan earlier presented a talk on the challenges in managing overseas projects, the role of structural steel in the Industrialised Building System (IBS) and his group's success in some of the iconic projects locally and overseas.

He said companies venturing overseas should also not depend on a single client or country and that they should spread out.

Otherwise it would be risky, especially when there is a crisis.

He cited that Eversendai started its overseas venture in Singapore without assistance from the government and worked up its presence to six countries currently.

Nathan also called on local players wishing to go overseas to understand the local norms of doing business in the respective countries they want to venture into.

"One must understand the culture, the people, the mentality and how people go about doing work, contracts, contractual terms and also the management of the workforce and the local costs."

Costing is very critical, he said, adding that if it is not done right, companies could end up losing money.

"Even for Eversendai, if the pricing is not right, we never undertake the job, and walk away. We must have the reasonable margin of what we want."

The two-day ICSC 2012 conference was organised by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and was attended by about 200 industry players and policy makers. — Bernama

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