By Claire Ferris-Lay
Khalaf Al Habtoor doesn’t rule out future cash injections from Australian parent company
Al Habtoor Leighton, a joint venture between Dubai’s Al Habtoor Group and the Australian firm Leighton Holdings, needs AED4bn ($1.08bn) to safeguard its future projects in the Gulf, the chairman of Al Habtoor Group has told Arabian Business.
Parent company Leighton Holding was forced to raise A$757m ($800m) from shareholders to inject $272m into the UAE venture following write downs and delayed payments. In January, the firm said it was owed more than AED4bn for completed projects.
“There is a deficit and this deficit is because a lot of money is needed by the company. The money needed in the operation [side] is about AED4bn for a few projects in the GCC,” Khalaf Al Habtoor said, adding that the cash injection “doesn’t represent a big deal to the shareholders.”
Al Habtoor, who sold a 45 percent stake in his contracting business to Leighton Holdings for $845m in 2007, said the company wouldn’t rule out future cash injections.
“If it [more money] is required definitely, yes [it will be available],” he said, adding that he hoped it wouldn’t be required due to new projects coming on board.
“The company has a lot of new projects [worth] billions and billions in the region and we are expecting some huge projects in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.”
Around 50 percent of the money owed is from Qatar while the remainder is from Dubai-based companies, said Al Habtoor.
“Some of them are short of money, so we are funding them, to complete the projects for them. We have a problem in Qatar of non-payments,” he said.
Al Habtoor Leighton Group this month won a $109m deal to build Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank’s new headquarters in the UAE capital. Construction of the two towers will begin immediately and is scheduled for completion before the end of 2012.
Other work being conducted by the joint venture in Abu Dhabi includes the Capital Gate tower, Zayed University and the Arzanah Medical Complex.
The group has also said it will bid for projects in Qatar as the state gears up to host the 2022 World Cup.
“Definitely, we have mobilised [to bid for projects in Qatar]. We have an office in Doha, we have a lot of projects and we’re looking forward to working with the Qatari government,” Al Habtoor told Arabian Business in January.
Habtoor Leighton is a nice company