Middle East: Opportunity for Greek Construction Industry


Prof Dimitrios P. Kamsaris


Bilston Community School, UK

Stefanos Kougoulos, Lecturer,

Bilston Community School, UK


There are numerous problems faced by Greek construction firms due to the financial crisis over the last two years and the way companies followed in order to survive.

The European Union funding for large infrastructure projects in Greece has remained in the initial phase. Moreover, various projects such as highway extensions and improvements have been stopped due to the bank loan being s inaccessible and shutting of lines of credit. Another major problem faced by construction firms due to the economic crisis is that the government owes more than 2 billion euros for works already carried out. These debts have negative impact even on the largest local companies.

Looking for ways of survival, many Greek construction firms expanded their activities abroad. It is mentioned by industry executives that today, local firms are turning their activities abroad in order to stay active during the period of crisis, while in the past the projects that were undertaken abroad were focused on boosting firms’ revenues and scope.

Greek firms follow the way towards the Balkans, the Middle East (ME) as well as the Central and Eastern Europe, due to the expertise and knowledge of local conditions. Many infrastructure projects were announced by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, at the end of the local economic crisis. The result was the expansion of the Greek construction firms activities in ME region. It is noticed that Saudi Arabia alone commissioned infrastructure, industry, real estate and transportation projects worth a total of approximately 60 billion euros in 2011, raised by125 percent compared to 2010.

For large Greek construction firms such as GEK Terna, Ellaktora and J&P Avax, which have both the experience and the know-how required, the ME area is an opportunity for expanding their activities. For instance, GEK Terna has undertaken projects in Bahrain and Qatar worth a total of 138 million, has already opened a subsidiary in Saudi Arabia and is carrying out works in Bulgaria and Serbia worth 38 million euros. Also, Ellaktor is active in the Middle East and in Southeastern Europe, and J&P Avax operates on a pipeline of projects worth 1.7 billion euros, 40 percent of which concerns overseas infrastructures in Cyprus and ME.

Business dilemma – research question

Before the financial crisis in Greece, the expansion of the major Greek construction firms in the Southeastern and Middle East markets was one of the three basic axes that their strategy was based on, in order to have the financial volume increased and great development potential created (Papaioannou, 2008). During the financial crisis period, due to the lack of new public works such as major road projects, most Greek construction firms were pushed to turn abroad in order to recover their losses.

According to the article already briefly described above, by the expansion of the Greek constructions firms activities abroad, a more secure environment is created where they will be able to remain active during the period of crisis. However, the opportunities developed for the construction firms in ME, Balkans and CE Europe, are available only for the companies that have both the experience and the know-how required in order to be competitive and effectively operating in these countries. 


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About the Authors

dimitrios-kamsarisflag-ukflag-greeceDr. Dimitrios P. Kamsaris

Dr. Dimitrios P. Kamsaris is a Professor of Management and Chairman of the Academic Boar at Bilston Community College in UK. He has been acting as a Visiting Professor at numerous Business Schools in France, UK, Denmark, Cyprus, and Greece. Dr. Kamsaris has completed postdoctoral education at Harvard University. He held CEO and managerial positions in Coca-Cola, Sherwin Williams, Olympic Games, Shell and D Constructions.  Today, he serves as a member of Board of Directors and management consultant.  Furthermore, he trains public & private sector executives in the U.K, Denmark, Cyprus and Greece.  He is published in business and academic journals and is a chartered member of the Cyprus Human Resource Management Association.  e-mail: [email protected]

To see other works by Dimitrios Kamsaris, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-dimitrios-p-kamsaris/

flag-ukflag-greecestefanos-kougoulosStefanos Kougoulos

Mr. Stefanos Kougoulos is a Lecturer and Researcher in Project Management at Bilston Community School in the UK.  He has extensive experience as a procurement engineer. His main responsibility is within the purchasing and investment department of the major oil seeds processing industry and maritime company in Greece, since 2006. In the past, he has collaborated with technical naval bureau as a surveyor and drawing engineer. Mr. Stefanos Kougkoulos holds a Master of Science degree in Construction Project Management from Heriot Watt University, as well as a Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering. During his postgraduate thesis he conducted a research on the way the Project Success Factors Affect the Residential Construction Projects in Greece. e-mail: [email protected]

To see other works by Stefanos Kougoulos, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/stefanos-kougoulos/.