Dubai's Arabtec says restructuring won't hurt projects

Chairman Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi claimed the construction firm's financial position remained solid

A restructuring of major Dubai construction firm Arabtec will not damage its ability to proceed with its expansion plans, chairman Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi said in a statement on Wednesday.

Qubaisi issued the statement to the Dubai bourse after his company's shares, the most heavily traded in Dubai, plunged 53 percent this month, dragging down the entire market.

The plunge followed a decision by major shareholder Aabar Investments to reduce its stake in Arabtec earlier this month, and the resignation of the company's chief executive Hasan Ismaik last week. On Tuesday, Arabtec said it had laid off a "limited number" of staff; sources told Reuters that they included executives hired by Ismaik.

In his statement on Wednesday, Qubaisi said Arabtec's financial position remained solid and that it was committed to growing and maximising returns to shareholders. He repeated that the company had no intention of delisting its shares from the market, contrary to rumours.

"We have implemented a limited restructuring process, aimed at controlling resources, without compromising the needs of projects in progress and the established expansionist plans."

Qubaisi did not, however, comment on the future of specific projects, including billions of dollars of contracts given to it by Aabar in the United Arab Emirates, and a $40bn deal to build one million homes in Egypt over coming years.

He said Arabtec was "keen to retain" the managerial and technical teams in its various departments to handle projects. But he did not discuss the make-up of Arabtec's future management team, Arabtec's relationship with Aabar, or what might happen to Ismaik's 28.85 percent stake in Arabtec.

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