People Meter: Emerging markets

Noaman Amjad talks to UME on how to rise up from an economic crisis

Noaman Amjad, head of ABB's Power Systems division in the Sub-Gulf region.
Noaman Amjad, head of ABB's Power Systems division in the Sub-Gulf region.

Noaman Amjad, head of ABB’s Power Systems division in the Sub-Gulf region talks to Utilities Middle East on how to rise up from an economic crisis.

How do you think the Middle East power market will recover from the economic crisis?
There is no questioning the fact that the power market was also impacted by the financial crisis. Many projects in execution in the Gulf, especially connected to the real estate sector, were affected and new developments are taking some time to come onto the regional market.

That said, there were also several large opportunities by the main state owned utilities that materialised and were awarded as projects. During 2009, Kuwait MEW, Kaharama Qatar, ADWEA & DEWA all awarded water and power generation, transmission and distribution projects.

Furthermore most of these utilities have solid growth and investment plans into 2010 and beyond.

What challenges are you facing aside from the crisis?
By acting quickly and decisively, we delivered a good 2009 results well within our profitability target, despite the worst recession in memory. We are in a stronger position today than we were a year ago and have successfully positioned ourselves for growth as the economy recovers.

During the year we also saw an accelerated shift in global demand patterns to emerging and developing markets such as those in India, the Middle East and Africa.

From a technology viewpoint, balancing the need for more power whilst lowering the impact of climate change presents many challenges and opportunities. For example renewables and their integration, smart grids, power quality, improved network management and control down to distribution level, etc are some of the challenges that face the power industry today.

Many of the technologies needed for the future electrical systems are already well established and now need to be more widely applied. ABB, with its broad portfolio of power technologies, control systems and energy efficient applications, has pioneered many of these technologies.

ABB is in an excellent position to take the lead in providing tailor-made solutions for the further development of smart electrical systems.

Which are the major growth areas of the company?
The economic situation in 2009 has shown the global importance of emerging economies in the recovery process. The financial crisis hit our mature markets in some areas and we have seen a clear global shift in demand to emerging markets.

We have also realised that emerging markets do not always need to develop a huge export business to grow – as their own economic development is creating an enormous domestic demand by itself.

For example, a very large percentage of the products we build in India and China are consumed by the Indian market.

Another area of growth for us is energy efficiency. The industry wants to be as efficient as possible and get the maximum amount of resources out of the ground and utilise them as best they can for the lowest cost.

ABB can definitely help here as we have a host of energy-efficient technology to choose from.

How do you expect this to change in the future?
We think that the emerging markets and their performance will remain a key cornerstone of the global economic recovery in the years to come.

What are your hopes for the next 12 months?
We are looking towards the next 12 months with both enthusiasm and optimism.

The economic climate continues to remain challenging, but with our broad portfolio of power and automation technologies we see that we can really contribute to our customers’ success by ensuring energy efficiency, grid reliability and to help improve industrial productivity.

This is not just with the power and water utilities but also with a wide range of other industry sectors as well.


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