PNC Menon on Sobha Group building real estate legacy with craftsmanship and innovation

Strategic, proactive approach keeps company ahead of the curve
PNC Menon, founder and chairman of Sobha Group

Boasting over 130 million square feet of completed projects, Sobha Group is one of the most prominent real estate conglomerates in the region. Established by visionary Indian-Omani founder PNC Menon, what started as an interior decorating firm grew to become a leading provider of luxury living experiences for discerning clients.

In this exclusive interview with Economy Middle East, PNC Menon looks back on the group’s journey. He shares milestones, challenges and strategies that have helped Sobha push boundaries, leaving an indelible mark and staying on top of the game in a highly competitive market.

Economy Middle East: What do you consider to be the greatest milestones Sobha Group has achieved since its establishment?

PNC Menon: Since our establishment in 1976, the Sobha Group has achieved significant milestones that mark a long-standing legacy in the market. These benchmarks are symbols of our strategic vision and a steadfast dedication to quality. Our timely completion and delivery of iconic projects counts as one of our greatest accomplishments.

We have distinguished ourselves in the industry with our prompt and efficient handover of projects. Furthermore, we have constantly reinvented the concept of luxury living with our passion for quality. This dedication to quality has not only garnered praise but also developed a devoted community of residents that values high standards of living.

Another noteworthy aspect of our journey has been our successful expansion into international markets. Our widespread global presence confirms our ability to adjust to diverse markets and settings while upholding our fundamental principles. As a whole, these milestones are not just achievements, but also a reflection of the Sobha Group’s spirit and commitment to excellence.

Economy Middle East: What have been the biggest challenges you have encountered and how did you overcome them? What lessons have you learned from these experiences?

PNC Menon: Like any business, Sobha Group has faced its share of formidable obstacles in the ever-changing business landscape, as challenges are an inevitable part of the journey.  While difficult, these challenges have also taught us valuable lessons that have helped shape our resilience and strategic competence. Navigating unforeseen market fluctuations and economic uncertainties are undoubtedly some of the major challenges that we have encountered in the industry.

Sobha Group has consistently relied on a combination of resilience and strategic decision-making to meet these challenges. Even in the face of market fluctuations, our commitment to driving excellence in every project has remained constant. This commitment strengthened our market position and instilled confidence in our stakeholders. Moreover, our ability to adapt to changing conditions, make informed decisions and stay ahead of the curve has been critical to our sustained success.


Economy Middle East: The industry where you operate is highly competitive. What strategies do you have in place to stay ahead of the curve? What are your thoughts on where the industry is headed?

PNC Menon: Staying ahead of the curve in this fiercely competitive environment necessitates a strategic approach that goes beyond conventional norms. Our long-term success can be attributed to our dedication to pushing the boundaries of innovation and design. Creating an operational model that prioritizes excellent craftsmanship, customer-centricity and a keen understanding of market trends is a fundamental component of our approach. This customer-centric approach is more than a strategy, rather a guiding principle that ensures our long-term viability in an extremely competitive market.

Technology integration is also at the core of everything we do, from sophisticated project management tools to smart home solutions. This not only increases the effectiveness of our offerings but establishes us as leaders in the sector when it comes to implementing cutting-edge solutions. Most importantly, sustainability is a driving force in our strategy for the future. As environmental responsibility becomes increasingly important, we actively integrate sustainable practices into our projects.

Economy Middle East: What important trends do you see emerging in the overall business landscape and the real estate industry in particular?

PNC Menon: The dynamic market conditions and changing demands of consumers are causing a rapid transformation in the business landscape, particularly in the real estate sector. A number of trends are beginning to emerge that are not only impacting the industry but also determining its future course.

One notable trend that is fundamentally changing the real estate industry is digital transformation. From virtual property tours to online transactions, the industry is leveraging digital tools to improve customer experiences and streamline processes. As a result, it is imperative that businesses move toward a more tech-driven approach. Another significant trend influencing the real estate market is sustainable development. With a growing emphasis on environmental awareness, there is an increased focus on creating environmentally friendly and energy-efficient spaces.

In the regional context, the industry is embracing the vision of smart cities. Smart cities, that incorporate cutting-edge technologies like artificial technology and the Internet of Things are becoming a major trend aimed at improving urban living conditions. At Sobha Group, we closely monitor these market trends and consider them as integral components of our strategy. Staying ahead of industry advancements requires a proactive approach, which makes adapting to these trends more important in our path forward.

Economy Middle East: How can Sobha Group and the real estate industry in general contribute to achieving a more sustainable future?

PNC Menon: As leaders in the industry, we have an obligation to uphold sustainability as an ideology rather than a passing trend.

At Sobha Group, we continue to lead by example in adopting sustainable construction practices, such as using eco-friendly materials, implementing energy-efficient design principles and incorporating green building standards. By prioritizing sustainable construction, we minimize our impact on the environment and set the standard for responsible development. Similarly, using renewable energy sources like wind and solar power can greatly lessen the environmental impact of our projects.

We can better meet the growing demand for sustainable living by incorporating these technologies into our developments, which also helps create a cleaner energy grid. By integrating these practices into our projects and advocating for sustainability within the industry, we not only meet the demands of the present generation but also contribute to a legacy of responsible and forward-thinking real estate development for future generations.

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About PNC Menon

Puthan Naduvakkatt Chenthamaraksha Menon, simply known as PNC Menon, is an Indian-born Omani billionaire and visionary leader. He came to Oman in 1976 to co-found an interior decorating business, building it into the real estate conglomerate that it is today. Currently, he sits as Sobha Group’s chairman emeritus, while his son Ravi is the chairman.

His legacy includes crafting iconic interiors like the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and Al Bustan Palace. His strong commitment to quality and self-reliance has also earned him multiple global accolades, including the “Golden Peacock Lifetime Achievement Award for Business Leadership” and the “Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the NDTV Property Awards.” He was also recognized with the “Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Puraskar” in 2009 by the then Honorable President of India, Ms. Pratibha Patil.

Additionally, PNC Menon is a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council of Overseas Indians.

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