Waagner Biro Steel and Glass Navigates the Saudi Construction Frontier

The Saudi construction sector is currently valued in the region of $68 billion, approximately 6% of The Kingdom’s GDP, and is projected to grow to around $87 billion in 2028.

According to the head of the National Development Division at the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s construction pipeline will be worth an estimated $2.1 trillion over the next 8 years, making it the largest pipeline in the region, attracting business inquiries from around the world. 

We helped construction leader Waagner Biro Steel and Glass expand into this lucrative Saudi market. Jason Wilson, General Manager of Waagner Biro Steel and Glass explained that the historic firm was attracted by: “A market that’s too big to ignore.” Having worked on landmark projects in the Gulf, including the Al Maqta Bridge in Abu Dhabi, the firm is looking forward to a promising, long, and profitable future in construction in KSA. 

Alex Nicholls, AstroLabs’ Director of Expansion, spoke to Jason at the Big5 Global event at the Dubai World Trade Center this year to learn more about his experience moving into Saudi and his advice for businesses considering expansion into the region. 

Leaning on Past Success to Build Future Growth in the Saudi Construction Space

An Austrian firm with a rich history of 165 years, Waagner Biro Steel and Glass provides innovative engineering solutions encompassing design, build, and construction for government and private clients. Its work on the Floating Bridge, the Al Noor Island Development, and the Al Maqta Bridge in UAE underscore how well-matched the firm is to Saudi’s construction project types, scales, and timescales. The construction company’s experience, expertise, and willingness to embrace challenges make them perfect partners for Saudi projects aligned with the ambitious objectives of Vision 2030 for economic diversification and the regeneration of the economy.

Recognizing the fit between their skills, and ambition and Saudi’s vision for a more sustainable, diverse future, they partnered with AstroLabs’ experts to negotiate the best way to get involved.

“We have the technology and the people to deliver projects in Saudi. It’s better to be in than out. Events like the World Cup 34, the 2029 Asian Winter Games, and Expo 2030 provide deadlines that create a stronger focus and will accelerate Saudi construction over the next 10, 20, and 30 years.”

Considering the transformation of Saudi’s urban landscape, entering the Kingdom was an obvious next step, but they needed local expertise and support. AstroLabs helped them expand into the region by being their eyes and ears on the ground, easing the company’s entry into Saudi’s dynamic market. After talking with us, their path into Saudi became clear. Our on-ground team was able to support the construction company and help them fulfill their entry requirements efficiently so they may fulfill their ambitions in KSA. 

Building the Future from the Ground Up

Aside from its excellence in construction, it has two distinct advantages over construction firms hovering on the sidelines of the Saudi market. They have the credibility of a license that signals they are ready to work, and they have already begun leveraging their networks.

“Everyone wants to win a contract before exploring Saudi, but having a local presence is key to winning contracts in the Kingdom.”

AstroLabs was instrumental in getting the company’s trading license, which means they are legal, agile, and ready to seize opportunities. 

“Getting into Saudi early is especially important when you are tendering and part of the scoring is dependent on whether you have a license. Get in on the ground and you will pre-qualify for projects because you have a license … It’s your perfect business card, giving you connection to the market, connection to the people, and connection to clients.”

By providing a business address, VAT registration, managed PRO services, and the all-important license, we helped this expansion leader get a feel for the market and collaborate with suppliers and networks to develop regional success on its path to a breakthrough opportunity.

Jason advises anyone thinking about expanding into Saudi that engaging with the local market and establishing strong networks are foundational to success in the Kingdom. 

“It takes face-to-face interaction … Don’t waste any time developing strategies. Get in there, check the market, the suppliers, the capacities. … The earlier you’re in, the earlier you can pick up the changes and adapt.“

Leading Transformation Across the Kingdom

With AstroLabs’ expert guidance, Waagner Biro is anticipating a prosperous expansion and leadership across the Kingdom, pursuing the gateway project that will develop the office, develop the team, and help them achieve sustained growth in Saudi.

“The landmark projects [the Kingdom is] planning to develop are out of this world … We see Saudi as the next step for us within the region. We’re on a journey and I think Saudi’s going to be part of that for the next 10 or 20 years.”

AstroLabs has the answer to connecting talented businesses like Waagner Biro with the needs of potential partners throughout the Kingdom so they can be part of a trajectory that will last a lifetime and help change the face of construction, not only in the Kingdom but worldwide.

Streamline your expansion into Saudi with AstroLabs