Q - Please introduce us to Faruk Group Holding (FGH) (including history, group of companies and sectors)?
FMR - FGH is a group of companies with a diversified range of activities including Telecommunications, Cement Industry, Hotels, Medical services, Properties, Construction and IT. As the Group Chairman, I have prepared a new roadmap with my key people which we hope will lead to even more success.
Q - Who is Mr. Faruk Mustafa Rasool?
FMR - As soon as I graduated from Baghdad University College of Economy and Trade in 1964, I was employed by the Iraqi Trading Bank. However, I left to join the Kurdish Democratic Movement in northern Iraq. In 1975 I started my first business venture by building a cement block factory in partnership with a friend who provided the financial support, as I did not have even one dinar then. From this project I established a capital to start a poultry processing unit in Sulaymaniyah with one million dinars as capital in 1987, and then I went in to trading and importing goods from Turkey to Iraq and Iran. My major change came in 1995 when I bought a US$15,000 Inmarsat telecommunication device to start a small communications network in Kurdistan which later changed to Asiacell. Asiacell introduced mobile phones to the Iraqi market and is now the only network which covers all the provinces of Iraq with its 8.5 million subscribers.
Q - How would Faruk Group Holding support the Iraqi labour market?
FMR - With more than 10,000 Iraqi employees, FGH stresses on the human aspect and strives to maintain a social and educational conscience in its aim to achieve global growth and social evolution. We are also planning to start a nonprofit organization for philanthropic activities. The main role of this organisation is to complete and support the group's strategy and goals of social awareness. One of our main achievements is the financial support to university students in Sulaymaniyah.
Q - What is Faruk Group Holding concept for Iraq to make it a desired destination within the Arab World?
FMR - Iraq is a promising market; it has more growth potential than any other market in the world in the next 5 to 10 years. Our operations in Sulaymaniyah and Erbil will support our entry into the Iraq market in all sectors of the business community. We are planning to enter the banking sector, in order to assist our other businesses on the financial services side. Hopefully we will be able to establish our company Soon. We are also planning to enter the power generation and electricity fields. The vision is not yet clear, once it is we will certainly create a buzz about it.
Q - We heard that FGH is participating in the Arabian Travel market 2011, can you please tell us why you participate in similar exhibitions and what do you hope to achieve by doing so?
FMR - Arabian Travel Market is the travel and tourism event unlocking business potential within the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. Tourism companies from destinations in the Middle East and around the world showcase a diverse range of accommodation options, breathtaking attractions and new airline routes. ATM is a very prestigious exhibition in the Arab World, therefore we participate in order to highlight and promote Sulaymaniyah and its community and to showcase our hospitality group of companies.
Q - Why did you choose Sulaymaniyah as a start?
FMR - We are from Sulaymaniyah and we are steering our city's economy into becoming an industrial, telecommunications and education hub. We invite all the businessmen from all over the world to visit Sulaymaniyah, Erbil and Iraq and to have a look and perhaps to start a business in our country, because we believe that Iraq is a promising market.
Q - What about FGH's current and future plans?
FMR - Asiacell, Bazian and Talsluja Cements factories are the sources of positive cash flows for the group. The funds generated by Asiacell and the two cement factories and other group companies are, in turn, funding projects such as, the Faruk Medical Centre at a cost of US$120 Million with a capacity of 130 beds utilizing state of the art equipments from leading manufacturers as we are aiming to make this facility with its equipments, labs, and medical expertise as high in quality as possible. I am planning to negotiate with international medical companies to manage the centre in addition to bringing in all the latest technologies and best Iraqi doctors who gained their experience from the West. Final statement: Creating a holding company will help the management of its related companies to reduce its costs and time with better planning. It allows for transparency, gives the managers more independence and helps in speedy decisions. I believe strongly in the democratic approach with normal liberties, having faced responsibilities since childhood
Sunday / May 20 / 2012