Simon Karam, a Lebanese national, arrived in Oman more than 45 years ago, and hasn’t looked back since. He graduated from St Joseph’s University in Beirut before going on to complete a postgraduate course at one of France’s foremost educational institutions, Ecole Nationale des Ponts-et-Chaussees in Paris. He spent his first two years after graduating with Lebanese construction company CAT Group, working on road projects in Saudi Arabia.
Sarooj’s construction portfolio includes projects in Oman, like the Musandam Gas Plant, Musandam Independent Power Plant (MIPP), and desalination plants in BP Khazzan and Sur. One of the firm’s main projects is a $2m (OMR770,000) contract to build roads, steel barriers, fences, and control and command rooms – complete with all their electronics – across 130km of mountains in the sultanate’s Dhofar Province.
The contractor posted revenues of $135m for 2015. Karam said: “With the low price of oil and the lack of liquidity, the biggest challenge facing our business is to get paid on time. Yet we have managed to achieve success because of our values, code of ethics, and the code of practice that we have developed over the years.”
In terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR), Sarooj is working to help the unsettled, impoverished population on the Oman-Yemen border. “Our main aim is to raise their living standards by offering jobs, helping start-ups, offering water and sewage treatment plants, and building a community hall,” said Karam.
Sarooj has also allocated a yearly budget of $500,000 to train its staff on the latest updates in the construction industry.