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NVious track record

With 34 years of robust presence in the region, rental cooling and rental power major, Geo Group needs little introduction.

| | Aug 15, 2010 | 1:37 pm
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With 34 years of robust presence in the region, rental cooling and rental power major, Geo Group needs little introduction. Its ambitious expansion programme merits attention, though. The Group is on course for not only increasing its capacit y for cooling and power but also for joining a select band of companies with the capability of manufacturing their own chillers of 2,500-TR capacity.

N V George

N V George

Two weeks ago, Sharjah-based Geo Electricals Trading & Contracting received a call from a high-profile client in Abu Dhabi, to whom the company had supplied over 30 chillers, a year ago. The nature of the call was urgent – the client told Geo Electricals that there was something the matter with the equipment that the company had supplied, because the cooling was no longer sufficient. Geo Electricals, an integral part of the 34-year-old Geo Group, reacted with alacrity and sorted the matter out within 48 hours.

For N V George, the Group’s Chairman and Managing Director, the Abu Dhabi episode is a matter of pride. His team confronted a challenge, and through teamwork, coordination and a willingness to be flexible – the technicians worked unmindful of night and day – rose to the occasion to deliver. For George, though, such challenges are not new; after all, the company that he spearheads has handled complex assignments, including the supply of rental cooling (3,000 TR) to the Presidential Palace in Baghdad, immediately after the first Gulf War, and to the 121-aircraft-capacity behemoth, the USS Abraham Lincoln, during the same period.

The Group’s track-record is an envious one, indeed. Throughout the 1990s, it provided rental solutions to the Dubai Air Show (before the event moved into a permanent facility). More recently, its rental equipment have been deployed at Yas Island; the iconic and distinct headquarters building of Abu Dhabi master-developer, Aldar and at the Red Line of the Dubai Metro, where it is providing cooling to 19 stations and 28 locations.

Geo is involved in such large projects, because it has the required girth. With a cooling capacity of 77,000 TR – which includes packaged units, free-standing units and chillers – and the ability to generate matching power, the Group wears the confidence of a veteran. Having sunk its foundations deep in the UAE, it is nursing ambitions to enter Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, where it sees tremendous potential to offer its expertise.

USS Abraham Lincoln, Jebel Ali Port, Dubai

USS Abraham Lincoln, Jebel Ali Port, Dubai

It is, perhaps, a measure of its confidence that, in anticipation of the growth, the Group is expanding its capacity. “We have given an order for new chillers,” George says. “We will be adding 50,000 TR this year, with power.” Currently, the Group boasts 150 gensets; by the end of the year, George says, it will expand to have 250 gensets, ranging in capacity from 100 to 3,000kW.

The Group’s long-term order-profile includes water-cooled centrifugal chillers and more power. George speaks of plans to purchase up to 3MW of power.

The plan to acquire water-cooled chillers is allied to its desire to provide greater efficiencies to its clients, never mind the fact that it would have to install cooling towers for the purpose. This goes against convention for the rental industry, but George is determined to tread a new path for the sake of offering better service to the Group’s clients.

If acquiring the equipment is seen as courageous and unconventional, George is working on a project that will place the company as a manufacturer of large-tonnage, water-cooled centrifugal chillers. The machines will be produced at the Group’s factory in India, with the first batch expected to roll out in 2011. With the equipment-manufacturing capability, George hopes to bolster his rental inventory and also strengthen the trading and contracting sides of the Group’s business.

In line with the ambitious expansion drive, George is scouting for a vast area of land near the port in Dubai, to house his inventory. “I wish to serve the whole of the UAE and the GCC,” George says. “The intention behind the plan to establish a base in Dubai, which will be a depot and a manufacturing facility, is to stock all my equipment under one roof, so it will be convenient to serve Abu Dhabi and Al Ain from there and, at the same time, export to other parts of the GCC; the existing Sharjah base will serve the Northern Emirates.”

Emirates Towers, Dubai

Emirates Towers, Dubai

While Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman are in the Group’s radar for growth and expansion, it views the UAE as integral to its success. The downturn forced several projects in Dubai to be put on hold. Today, though, George senses a loosening of the recession’s vice-like grip. “Many developers want to restart their projects, and for this, they want to go with temp-cooled solutions,” he says. “I find the situation to my advantage. I say this, because I can offer them high-quality service and, at the same time, match their financial constraints, if any. Price-wise, we are very competitive. ”

George believes the rental market will see sustained growth for the next five years. He is optimistic that Geo, with its arsenal of diverse and reliable equipment is more than capable of meeting the demands of the market.

More than the equipment, though, it is his people that give him the confidence to make sustained forays into the market, he says. His team comprises 250 technicians, who, he says, are well-qualified and well-trained to handle just about any situation. “They are the backbone of the company,” he says. “They can service or replace any piece of equipment in a matter of hours or a few days.” He should know – they certainly did not let him down two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi.

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