Change is the only constant

Andrew Barton speaks to a leading steel manufacturer about CSR and the need to diversify


From a humble beginning as a trading house in 1977, Al-Tuwairqi Holding Company (ATH) is now one of the leading businesses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The company has shown a phenomenal growth over the last two decades and today is among the top five private sector industrial concerns in the Kingdom.

Dr Hilal Hussain Al Tuwairqi, the chairman of ATH, has developed the company into a well-known name in Saudi Arabia, mainly due to its large-scale steel manufacturing activities – its primary focus being the steel sector – but also in a number of related engineering fields after successfully diversifying the business.

Growth and expansion
The company has grown and expanded vastly since its emergence in 1977, Dr Tuwairqi explains. “Change is the only constant in Al-Tuwairqi Holding,” he says.

“We always remain focused on developing, as far as possible, the know-how in-house, while continuously striving to remain abreast with the latest technologies, in order to remain competitive and overcome the challenges of a cut-throat competition in today’s competitive world.”

Whatever ATH earns, Dr Tuwairqi explains, is primarily re-invested for augmentation in capacity, modernisation, automation and expansion projects.

 “In steel manufacturing, we firmly believe that our value addition chain must be complete, starting from the mining of the basic raw material up to the finished products directly going into the hands of the end users.”

Core values
The company’s core values of honesty, integrity and team work are  reflected in everything ATH is involved with.

“Al-Tuwairqi Holding basically is a pro-people organisation,” Dr Tuwairqi says. “We have this strong faith that human resource is the true asset of any successful organisation, and the human resource develops and nurtures in a work culture of trust.

“As management our job is to provide an ‘enabling environment’ and inspire in our people our core values, leading of course by example,” he says. “Making profits and reasonable profits, we cannot deny, is the motive of any commercial organisation. And the same applies to us. As without it, both survival and expansion is not possible.”

Family values are also very much present within the company and are adhered to as much as their work ethics.
Once the core values are properly adopted as a work style, Dr Tuwairqi says, the people working with Al-Tuwairqi Holding become more than simply employees: they become the family members of Al-Tuwairqi.

“That’s the reason that those who share the vision, mission and the value system of Al-Tuwairqi, are always considered and treated as the members of Al-Tuwairqi family,” he says.

“However, our primary focus always is to carry out a successful venture and money comes as a by-product of a successful business. Our aim and objective always is the well-being of the people working with us, besides their intellectual, technological and career growth.”

Commercial integration
Since the very beginning and the emergence of ATH, the company has always managed to focus on, and contributed to, the commercial integration with GCC and the Middle East, devising a step-by-step strategy to achieve this.

“In the first step, we focused on the Kingdom and then started diversifying to the GCC. Today ATH has gone beyond the boundaries of Saudi Arabia and encompasses areas of the Middle East, South Asia and Europe.”
To be truly commercially integrated, ATH always supported the bilateral trade among GCC and the Middle Eastern countries and extended the same working and growth opportunities for all the citizens of the GCC countries, without any distinction or discrimination. 

“We will continue our efforts for greater integration of business and commercial activities in the GCC, and to promote the benefits of increased efficiency of production, through an optimum utilisation of resources,” says Dr Tuwairqi. “Knowledge always increases through sharing and whatever knowledge we have, we always love to share that with the GCC countries and Middle East as a region. To achieve this, I opted to become Chairman of the Arab Iron and Steel Union.”

Technology advances
ATH has always been very technologically advanced, but of late, the company has experienced a number of communication resource advances.

“All our manufacturing processes are cutting edge and state-of-the-art technology based, comparable to any international steel manufacturing companies.”

ATH has now launched an applied research centre, along with a technology centre and a design and engineering house, all geared to offer these engineering services to other companies in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Pakistan, with plans to expand into other regional countries.

‘Making a difference’
Every company also has its social dimensions, and corporate social responsibility has become an integral part of business today. Having become one of the largest business houses in the Kingdom, Al Tuwairqi Holding has not overlooked the expectations of its stakeholders, and realises its national and moral obligations.

“With a strong sense of corporate social responsibility, we at ATH believe in making a difference in lives – a difference that is able to permeate the very fabric of society towards uplifting the economic well-being of the people wherever they are,” says Dr Tuwairqi.

“We are one of a few companies in Saudi Arabia to start renewable energy projects, such as solar and waste-heat recovery from our process-gases. We are also working to capture carbon-dioxide from our sponge-iron factory to contribute positively for the reduction of carbon-dioxide gas.”

Innovative social responsibility
When it comes to CSR, ATH takes a number of measures to ensure it acts responsibly.

Dedicated to achieve service and technical excellence, the group envisages an image that constitutes its core strength and basis for a growing base of satisfied customers. ATH is one such major business enterprise that has taken a passionate and innovative approach to social responsibility.

“We don’t compromise on the environment aspect of the technologies in use; we set up business units by investing heavily in developing countries like Pakistan, participate heavily in philanthropist activities and proactively contribute to job creation in the MENA region,” says Dr Tuwairqi.

“Our long-term vision is to create a better cost-effective community and reduced wastage of human capital, which reflects our determination in building an economically and socially balanced society.”

Sustainability goals
The phenomenal growth of Al Tuwairqi Holdings is based on the principles of sustainable development with high-technology value-added engineering industries. While keen on further consolidating its position in Saudi Arabia, the company is focused on geographical and commercial diversification of ATH. Accordingly, ATH has developed strategic alliances with the world’s leading industrial and trading houses.

“ATH is internally consistent and externally a credible name in the business circles and therefore we foresee similar growth and expansion in future,” says Dr Tuwairqi.

“Our latest approach is to develop competent young, qualified entrepreneurs, with seven to 10 years experience, within the group, giving them management and financial support and training them to manage medium-size local manufacturing companies.

“Through this concept, we hope to provide sustainable employment opportunities to the maximum number of the local people and help in developing middle class based societies in each country we operate in.”

Environmental practice
Sustainable enterprise means combining economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility, according to Dr Tuwairqi, thus contributing to a future worth living for coming generations.

“ATH is fully committed to the environment friendly practices related to material handling, production and waste disposal methodologies.

“Major steps taken in this direction by us include the availability of detailed and clearly understood guidelines on the Environmental Performance Indicators related to particular matters; integration of various units in the steel production chain to form an integrated steel complex – thus reducing the atmospheric emissions and wastes – and a focus on alternative methods, technologies, designs and procedures to minimise the adverse environmental effects associated with steel complexes. 

Loyalty, success and prosperity
So why is ATH so successful in its field? Dr Tuwairqi explains that he is inspired by religion and his company’s success is ultimately down to having faith in people.

“Al-Tuwairqi primarily is a pro-people organisation, and as our business is mainly focused on steel, we derive strength from a verse in the Quran, which says ‘There is strength and benefits in Hadeed [steel] for mankind.’

“We have a firm belief that we can only accrue the benefits of Hadeed, if we remain faithful to our people, who endanger their lives and work right over the places where molten metal and red hot iron is being handled,” he says.

“Our loyalty with these people in fact is a loyalty with the steel, and the loyalty with the steel automatically brings success and prosperity to the company.

“This success means monetary benefits have to be shared by all. That’s what we believe, and that’s what we do, by adequately sharing our profits with the members of the ATH people. This is the key to our success.

“Together we have, together we are, and together we will continue making the difference.”