Leading Construction Consultants in Lebanon: D.G. Jones & Partners

“We have been here for the last 53 years.”

Interview with Joseph Psaroulla, Chairman of D.G. Jones & Partners

Joseph Psaroulla, Chairman of D.G. Jones & Partners

Give us an overview of the property market in Lebanon.

The property market has changed a lot due to different constraints, primarily budgetary. The apartments are getting smaller and the real estate developers are targeting this market as large scale apartments have been sitting for a couple of years now without anybody buying them because of the higher sales prices. We are now targeting the local Lebanese market instead of the big expat market in the Gulf.

You are involved in construction consultancy. Could you give us an overview of your major current projects?

We are now working on Sama Beirut which is the highest tower in Lebanon. We are working on the Lebanon Waterfront in Dbayeh which is the biggest project in real estate development in Lebanon. We are working on the LAU as program managers, this is an expansion program for the Lebanese American University and is worth around 150 million US dollars and we are working on other small projects in Lebanon as project managers.

What about some of your landmark projects in your other offices?

We are working in Dubai on the Dubai Pearl. In Qatar we are still working on the airport. In Cairo we are working on the City Gate project. In Jordan we are working on the Saraya Aqaba and Le Gray Hotel. In Bahrain we are doing the Muharraq Mall. These are the big projects.

We are working in Dubai on the Dubai Pearl. In Qatar we are still working on the airport.

How do you distinguish yourselves from the other real estate or construction consultants?

D.G. Jones & Partners makes sure that the clients have the facts so that they can go ahead with their developments. If you have the wrong facts you are going to end up bankrupt or losing the market edge. If you give an incorrect construction estimate for the project, your client will end up building the project and not being able to sell it. We are experts in the market, in the construction industry and in costing. Also as project managers we make sure that the project is delivered on time. We have been here for the last 53 years and so we know the customs and the habits of the area. We are not new in the market so we know exactly how it works locally.

What is your strategic vision for the company? Where would you like to see it in the medium term?

We want to develop the company to control the entire MENA region which is from Morocco to the whole Gulf. This is our target for the next few years.

Any specific markets?

We went to Morocco. We have opened in Amman because we had a project there. In Cairo we are expanding and in Libya we closed our office because of the troubles. The next market will either be Tunisia or Algeria.

When you move into Algeria or Tunisia do you begin with a company that you have been working with before in another market?

No, we go on our own. Initially the best thing to do when you open a new office is to secure a job because if you are going to start investing it is going to cost a lot. So on the backbone, it is important to have a project. In Morocco we are going to open an office because we have a project there.

Is there anything you would like to add or promote?

We want to target the French speaking areas, the francophone area, because we are probably one of the only project managing companies that speaks three languages. This is an added value against all of our competitors.

How about francophone Africa?

Ivory Coast and Cameroun are targeted. We are targeting Nigeria. We will be targeting all of these markets.

Do you have any strategic plans to merge, partner or acquire new companies?

Nowadays the main motto so to speak of an international company is that if you don’t acquire new companies, you tend to die. The new prospects will be acquisition but in the long run.

What kind of acquisition would you be looking at?

Acquisition would be in our domain; let’s say in project management but a smaller firm than ours, because the bigger fish would eat us up; we would be diluted immediately. So we are looking for smaller firms.

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