Following PRG’s strongest performing year in the region, Peter McCann, CEO for PRG in the Middle East, recently announced a multimillion-dollar investment into people and assets at the company’s Saudi Arabian operation. Although the news will have come as no surprise to those who work in the region and regularly come across the company’s flight cases on some of the Kingdom’s largest and most prestigious projects, according to Managing Director for the KSA branch, Bruce Mac Lean, the timing of the announcement was significant.
“Working diligently over the past two years, we felt it important to build the operation that had the scale and operating capacity that our clients would expect from PRG,” he commented. “The benefit is that we can now respond rapidly as projects come in and be far more cost effective for our client.”
The company now boasts an impressive 40,000 sq ft facility in Riyadh industrial Zone, which is fully equipped with high-end assets in video, audio, lighting, rigging and staging technologies that are capable of supporting everything from dry hire to the largest and most demanding projects the country has to offer. However, Mac Lean was keen to highlight the fact that large-scale special events are only part of PRG’s strategy.
“The rise of large-scale special event, sports and concert touring are equally matched by the level of government, corporate and MICE business across the Kingdom – sectors that our team has been focussed on for some years,” he highlighted. “There are MICE events of all scales happening in venues all over Riyadh, Jeddah, the Eastern Province and beyond, day-in-day-out. This investment allows us to serve this market as well as the larger projects. Our clients in this sector expect a high standard of delivery, and we have established an operation that can match this within our service offering.”
The year-round nature of the Saudi Arabian market is a major factor in the company’s investment in the region. “We’re seeing business opportunities that continue throughout the summer, too, so it makes sense for more of our assets to reside in this region permanently,” explained Sales Director, Harriet Stewart.
“The gaming and eSports markets are also an interesting space for us. Last year, Saudi Arabia launched a new gaming and eSports strategy to place the Kingdom as a ‘global hub’ by 2030,” she added. “This, coupled with our group-wide relationships within the eSports market, is extremely exciting for us in the region and an area of significant development.”
The recent investment includes a raft of state-of-the art technology including a range of lighting fixtures from the likes of GLP and Ayrton, including Domino Profiles and Washes, Cobras, and the soon-to-be-delivered Argo 6. Also included are a fleet of Barco 40K laser projectors along with Gen2 switchers and disguise vx 4+ servers to service the demand for projection-mapping – a particularly popular request among Saudi producers. “We’ve seen a particularly strong demand for large-scale projection in Saudi Arabia,” Mac Lean highlighted.
On the personnel side, PRG’s Saudi branch is on a major recruitment drive, with a particular focus on developing the local talent pool in the Kingdom. “It’s a huge, shared responsibility between us and the rest of our industry to make sure we develop that Saudi talent pool,” Stewart commented. “With over 60% of the population under 30 and an explosion of opportunities, Saudi youth are embracing new opportunities, so there is a huge prospect to develop new industry personnel who are language enabled and culturally aware,” she added. “Production Resource Group has great experience in apprenticeships and globally we have a strong track record in developing young people within the industry. In Saudi Arabia, with the support of both the private and public sector, we see a great opportunity.”
Alongside the long-term vision of developing the local industry, Mac Lean is also keen to ensure that the PRG team continues to deliver for its client base. “We aim to continue with the track record we’ve developed over the past 28 years here in the Middle East,” he stated. “We focus on building relationships with our clients, and we care about the delivery just as much as they do.”
While most of PRG’s expansion to this point has been made through acquisition, for the Saudi operation, organic growth was deemed the best way forward. “We’ve been operating in the Kingdom since the mid-90s and as the event sector expanded, we have worked to establish an independent entity to look after the long-term relationships developed over this time and to explore those new ones that want the service levels we are known for,” Mac Lean stated. “Our clients are already feeling the benefit.”
With significant potential throughout the Saudi Arabian market, further investment in the future is inevitable. “Our expansion plans have the support of the group’s Board, and we are able to continue to grow at pace and are excited about what the future holds.”