Mats Rahmström, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlas Copco, the Swedish industrial company with 40,000 employees worldwide and € 10 billion in annual revenues, said Dubai has a prominent global and regional presence and is characterized by a rapidly evolving business environment, and commends the Emirate's investments in new non-oil industries, enabling companies and entrepreneurs alike to achieve tremendous successes.
In an exclusive interview with “Al Bayan Al Iqtisadi”, Rahmström spoke about Dubai’s numerous fundamentals, economically, aesthetically and socially alike, pointing out that the Emirate enjoys openness, sophisticated service systems and a modern lifestyle, all while highlighting its importance as a global destination with diverse demographics and a multinational cultural fabric from around the globe.
Commenting on the importance of the United Arab Emirates’ government incentives and policies aimed at stimulating the national economy and at enhancing the investment attractiveness in Dubai and the UAE, along with their impact on operations in the country, Atlas Copco President and CEO said: “We appreciate all the UAE government initiatives providing a fertile environment for investment and facilitating business. Our investments depend not only on the encouraging business environment in the oil sector, but also on the thriving non-oil industries in the country.
We see initiatives that boost capital expenditure investments as promising opportunities for Atlas Copco, and we always strive to benefit from regulatory frameworks and policies that enable us to do business in an easier and smoother manner, which is in the interest of our customers in the first place.”
Headquartered in Sweden, Atlas Copco’s global footprint spreads across the five continents, with regional and international offices around the world including the US, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and offers a wide range of products and services in four key business areas, namely compressor technique, vacuum technique, industrial technique and power technique.
“We established our operations in Dubai back in 2002, being geographically situated in the heart of the Middle East region, availing proximity convenience to our employees who are frequently traveling across our countries of our operations, and rejoicing a flexible and accommodating lifestyle that provides ease of life to their families”, added Rahmström.
Atlas Copco President and CEO continued explaining that Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the company’s main hubs in the MENA region, while Atlas Copco continues to seek favorable regional opportunities.
“This region is home to more than 800 Atlas Copco employees, with approximately 170 located between the UAE and Bahrain, while Turkey and Egypt host the largest teams. Our human assets are tremendously growing, especially in our compressor and industrial technique business areas, and we are always looking for any available or potential opportunities in the market to capture and capitalize on. ”
On the protectionist policies implications and the globalization challenges, Mats Rahmström commented: “I can easily say that our business is booming. When I became CEO two and a half years ago, our revenues were at the threshold of € 8 billion. This year, we have grown to nearly € 10 billion, driven by unique product offering and energy efficient compressors. Although we see more electric and hybrid cars in the world, but with the continued reliance on oil, I do not think this will have a significant impact on Atlas Copco.
For us, our performance in the last two years has been very strong, as we have seen organic growth in orders received in the second quarter of 2019, where our compressors’ orders saw more than 3% increase, and power technique orders are at more than 10% increase compared to last year’s second quarter. However, we are nowadays seeing a negative impact subsequent to free trade decline. With Atlas Copco being based in Sweden, a country with a population of 10 million people, we need free trade, and I think the fees are the biggest obstacle for our customers today. ”
Discussing the management strategy pursued by Atlas Copco with the spread of its operations around the world, Mats Rahmström commented: “We are adopting the concept of decentralized management, where different business areas are given a great deal of self-management. It is vital for us to ensure that our disciplines operate according to the company's vision and mission.
We provide our employees with the necessary training programs to ensure this goal and improve their efficiency, as professional growth is an important objective at Atlas Copco. Everyone has the opportunity to move into positions available across our geographical network without prejudice to nationality, all while considering their efficiency and productivity levels.”
“Our small community in the UAE hosts 28 different nationalities and they work in an effortless harmony surpassing many other countries such as Sweden which teams are mainly of the Swedish nationality. We have introduced the “Atlas Copco Book” that includes the ethical business code of practice adopted by the company, and which is being periodically reviewed and updated as needed and is highly treasured by employees and management alike across our group.
The “Book” is also utilized in our recruitment process because I believe that young people today want to see how the company contributes to the communities in which it operates, through the adopted sustainability goals and the respect we are committed to towards our employees for instance”, he added.
Mats Rahmström, President and CEO of Atlas Copco, confirmed that Digitalization is one of the vital future trends in the industry today, especially in light of the ease of linking products and collecting data.
However, he explained that the challenge in this direction is to understand the data and ensure proactive product maintenance, allowing customers to benefit from extremely high levels of savings thanks to the product’s continuous operation, a goal the company is working towards achieving.
Rahmström continued: “The world is currently moving towards Automation, but I do not think this can be entirely done, since it requires adaptability to new models and changes applied to product lines; it can therefore be limited to semi-automatic/automated plants, with continuous human intervention.” He added: “Sustainability is a future trend, but it remains substandard and requires concerted action across all economies. For Atlas Copco, and me personally, I strongly favor to see sustainability as a real value for humans and businesses rather than being just a current or future trend.”
“There is no doubt that electric vehicles have become one of the most iconic future developments, and the US market, for example, is awaiting the launch of the forthcoming electric “Tesla” truck, and of course the connected cars that constitute a milestone in the future of the sustainable transportation sector”, concluded Rahmström.
Source: Al Bayan Newspaper (www.albayan.ae/economy/local-market/2019-09-21-1.3654269)