Marcopolis presents the Saudi Arabia Report focused on the investments, doing business, economy and other topics featuring interviews with key executives. The sectors under review in this issue are industry, real-estate, ICT, investments, banking sector, telecom sector and many more.
Mezahem Basrawi is one of the most dynamic corporate executives in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. For more than a quarter of a century, Mezahem Basrawi has garnered an impressive reputation for corporate leadership among different enterprises of the Alhamrani family group of companies (Alhamrani Group) of Saudi Arabia.
Since 2014, Basrawi presently serves as chief executive officer of AFPSA, after previously serving as president and chief operating officer of AFPSA from 2005 to 2010, and as AFPSA’s vice president for sales and marketing from 2002 to 2005.
Background of AFPSA
The Alhamrani Group has long been one of the largest conglomerates in Saudi Arabia, with interests in banking, manufacturing (steel drums, clay bricks, building materials), automobile sales, and real estate. In 1979, the Alhamrani Group entered the lubricants market, and quickly became one of the leading providers of lubricants in Saudi Arabia. In 1988, the Alhamrani Group decided to become not only a supplier but producer of lubricating products. Thus it built at Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, a state-of-the-art blending plant, which is still today one of the largest plant of its kind in the MENA region.
Fuchs Petroleum SE of Mannheim, Germany (Fuchs), is the largest independent producer and supplier of lubricants in the world, which operates in more than 100 countries on five continents. It is comprised of more than 60 operating companies and 34 production plants around the world.
In 1995, it was decided to join these two powerhouses into a partnership/joint venture to better serve the Middle East and North Africa. Thus Alhamrani-Fuchs Petroleum of Saudi Arabia was born. Through this partnership, Fuchs brings the benefits of German engineering and expertise to the already existing facilities of the Alhamrani Group, allowing both to offer the finest lubrication products and services to Saudi Arabia and the MENA region.
The Role of Mezahem Basrawi in Alhamrani – Fuchs Saudi Arabia (AFPSA) and Fuchs Oil Middle East (FOMEL)
Basrawi got his feet wet in the lubricants business as vice president of sales and marketing from 2001 to 2005. During this period, he provided management and support to develop domestic sales in KSA. Part of his mission was to establish a new branch network structure as well as creating and implementing the launch of diesel engine products.
His success led to his appointment as president and chief operating officer (COO) of AFPSA and COO of FOMEL from 2005 to 2010. In these two capacities, Basrawi oversaw the vast expansion of the companies’ joint products and services to dozens of new countries throughout the Middle East, North, West, and East Africa, and over into Asia, including Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Kenya, Mali, Congo, Tanzania, Pakistan, among others.
On the tenth anniversary of the formation of FOMEL, Basrawi said: “We have continued to make major breakthroughs in the MENA region, and have initiated successful projects that have made us become the only multinational to have so many plants in the region and such brand strength within such a relatively short timeframe.”
Further, Basrawi said, “The MENA region, with so much development and infrastructure work underway, still has enormous potential for us. There is huge scope for further expansion of the Fuchs brand, as our lubricant products are essential in literally hundreds of applications, from cars and motorcycles through to haulage, passenger transportation, the steel and mining industries, vehicle manufacturing as well as agriculture and the construction business. In all of these market sectors, lubricants are vital to ensure continued operation and efficient operation, which is why we have placed such strong emphasis on client service and rapid response.”
Today, under Basrawi’s leadership, AFPSA is recognized as the largest and most profitable independent lubricants company in the Middle East.
“Our vision is to be a total solution provider in the lube sector, and to deliver this we combine high quality service, a total of over 125 years of lubricants experience, a dedicated and highly motivated team plus a product range that encompasses 10,000 lines, covering everything from specialised applications varying from digital cameras and other high tech items through power to massive generating engines.”
Basrawi’s Early Background and Experience
Mezahem Basrawi was educated at the University of Miami, Florida, USA, where he received his degree in international finance and Marketing in 1983. While a student, Basrawi was the project coordinator for Calmaquip Engineering Corporation USA, in charge of its University scholarship program.
After graduation, Basrawi served as administrative assistant to the president of Al-Hussaini & Company, and then from 1984 to 1986 as Junior international credit officer for Banque Saudi Fransi in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
From 1986-1989, Basrawi was deputy general manager of Ideal Business Network (a computer retail Company) where he was responsible for managing and developing the strategic business growth and retail expansion of the Saudi, Egyptian, and Yemeni markets through innovating marketing campaigns. With this outside experience, Basrawi was ready to join the Alhamrani Group.
Basrawi’s Early Alhamrani Group positions, 1989 - 2001
From 1989 to 1991, Basrawi gained experience as deputy general manager of Alhamrani Universal Company, where he had a management role in operational performance and development involving a new initiative for Electronic Security, as well as increasing the company’s ATM share of the market in KSA.
In 1991 Basrawi undertook a six year assignment with the Alhamrani Group Affiliate office in the United States to become general manager of Amana USA, where he was involved in key industrial and trading projects in both the USA and KSA, including a major hypermarket project. Basrawi also Worked closely with PEROT Systems USA on a number of consultancy projects to the Saudi Market.
Basrawi served two stints as corporate officer of Alhamrani Universal; first as corporate vice president from 1997 to 2001, and then as president from 2010 to 2014.
As corporate vice president, Basrawi was responsible for the development and implementation of electronic banking, and for developing outsourcing service for three Saudi banks. These initiatives increased the market share of Alhamrani Universal’s financing services from 57% to 69% during his tenure.
As president of Alhamrani Universal from 2010 to 2014, Basrawi oversaw the transformation of the business from primarily a hardware vendor to an Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) provider, enabling the successful delivery of the latest EFT technology to Saud banks. In addition, Basrawi saw to the establishment of four new sales offices in the GCC region, in the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Bahrain, and Oman. Basrawi proved his mettle and worth to the company by net profit increases of 43% in 2010 and 23% in 2011, while the company increased its growth from 2010-2014 by 55%.