LAHORE: Sobha Group, a multinational, multi-product Middle East-based company with a strong commitment in the GCC region backed by four decades of expertise and developments and investments across the Gulf Cooperation Council, has grown into one of the most respected names in the entire region. The company has investments in various countries across the Middle East including UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Brunei. Sobha Group Founder and Chairman PNC Menon started his business in Muscat in 1976 with $7 in his pocket after a chance meeting with Captain Sulaiman Adawi, an Omani army officer, in a hotel lobby in Kochi, Kerala. Within next 45 days, he was in Oman, looking for business and upon landing in the country, borrowed 3,000 Omani riyals to start a small street-side furniture and interiors business named Trade and Services Company. “Initially, it was a ‘briefcase business’ – trying to fix small things, maintenance, etc – and then it developed into an interiors outfit. Slowly and steadily, we repaid the loan and began to grow our capital. By 1984, the company began to get big contracts, driven mostly by word of mouth due to its quality of work. Soon after I received a call to work for the Sultan’s office in Muscat, to work on a palace. The rest is history,” Menon said during an exclusive interview with Daily Times. “My company then went on to work for the royalty of Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and the president of Tajikistan. Among the noteworthy projects of Sobha Group in Oman, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which is the main mosque in the Sultanate of Oman, stands out. It took 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone and the marquee passion of Sobha to complete it in 1993. Marked by extensive and exquisite timber ceilings, corridors adorned with decorative paintings, the main musalla (prayer hall) is square with the central dome rising fifty feet from the floor. Shoba Group was also behind the Al Bustan Palace Hotel, which occupies pride of place not just in the Sultanate of Oman, but also in the entire Middle East, and is easily one of Sobha’s most prestigious projects. Another project, VVIP Lounge of the Muscat International Airport, was specially created to receive the royal participants of the GCC summit held in Muscat. It was a contractual project. The group also executed the project of Crown Plaza, a five-star beach resort that sits just 10 minutes from Oman airport. It has all the hallmarks of Sobha as a contractor with their customised interior decoration concepts for floorings, furnishings and specialised joinery for 153 rooms and suites, lobby, nightclubs, restaurants and coffee shop. Another noteworthy project of Shoba included the Lexus and Toyota Showrooms, which is located in the heart of Muscat’s auto-district in Wattayah, the largest in the world. Speaking about the company’s legacy, PNC Menon said, “With a legacy and track record of over 40 years, Sobha Group’s vision is to be the most trusted and respected real estate organisation in the GCC and to continue to transform the way people perceive quality by pioneering innovative projects and exceeding customers’ expectations across core markets. Dubai offers a range of exciting projects that caters to every need and fancy of investors ranging from 149 nationalities. Sobha Hartland, surrounded by 2.4 million square feet of greenery and set along the Dubai Water Canal, enjoys the unique advantage of prime location. With Hartland Greens, Waterfront Villas, and Hartland Estates – Townhouse Community, Sobha Group continues to set a benchmark in offering world-class bespoke living experience. Our belief “Passion at Work” at Sobha Group is what motivates more than 3,500 Sobhaites today to become specialists in their field.” In the recent past, Sobha Group has been recognised as one of the top real estate companies in the Arab World 2016 by Forbes Middle East and also ranked 9th in the Top 50 GCC Developers Rankings 2016 by Construction Week.