Born in 1956 to an entrepreneur father, Ali Sajwani, Hussain Sajwani is the founder and CEO of DAMAC properties. An Industrial Engineering and Economics graduate from the University of Washington, Hussain Sajwani the DAMAC owner started working at GASCO, in Abu Dhabi Gas Industries, then started a catering venture in 1983, before making a remarkable breakthrough with the establishment of DAMAC Properties in 2002.
In an exclusive Arabian business interview, preceded by an affable hobnob, the DAMAC owner recollects how his formative years’ experience at his father’s Deira-based shop partly shaped his apt adaptation to the market.
The DAMAC owner found no trouble funding his early deals owing to his catering businesses, investments in the regional stock markets, the insurance business in Bahrain, and ceramics enterprise in Oman that provided him with the initial capital. In fact, his stock market investments earned him more than his real estate investment.
Having proliferated, DAMAC Properties was hit hardest by the 2008 crash-something Hussain Sajwani saw coming. Cognizant of the impending crisis, the DAMAC owner responded with alacrity by retrenching employees, cutting overheads, among other preventive measures that got the press involved. Notwithstanding this nosedive, it took DAMAC seven years to bounce back from the six-month-long economic turmoil that Sajwani confesses had positives to too offer.
The Upward Mobility
Featuring in the London Stock Exchange as the first real estate company from the Middle East in 2013, Hussain Sajwani’s DAMAC had pulled a comeback with businesses once again booming. The DAMAC owner was launching back-to-back projects across Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UK, among a host of other locations.
Concerning financing of future projects, Hussain Sajwani acknowledges they always discuss new ideas. Moving on, the DAMAC owner admits the company is on the lookout for opportunities overseas, precisely in Europe.
Hussain Sajwani dreams of having DAMAC towers in cities around the world. He frankly says he’s not the best in the world but does his best to get to Bill Gate’s level. ‘Like father like son’ encapsulates his life journey, albeit on a large scale dimension.