Arabtec chasing $6bn deals across Gulf - CFO

EXCLUSIVE: Construction giant also invited to undertake projects in Iraq.
Arabtec chasing $6bn deals across Gulf - CFO
CHASING CONTRACTS: Construction giant Arabtec is eyeing deals across the Gulf region worth $6bn. (Getty Images)
By Damian Reilly
Tue 09 Jun 2009 02:14 PM

Arabtec Construction is bidding for construction projects worth AED22 billion ($6bn) in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, company CFO Ziad Makhzoumi told Arabian Business on Tuesday.

The company has also been invited to undertake building work in northern Iraq, while other work was being considered across Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Libya, he said, adding he expected the company to deliver eight to AED8.5 billion worth of work this year.

Makhzoumi said: “I can tell you what we are pursuing: in Abu Dhabi, the number is AED4.5 billion. We hope that soon that there will be some awards that we can announce in Abu Dhabi. In Qatar we have the one major project, which is Al Waab City, and we are bidding for other work that is coming in, besides that main project.

“In Qatar, we are estimating 15 or 16 different projects now. I could give you a figure, but it doesn’t mean that we will get any. We will get some, probably. It’s probably in excess of AED15 billion. It is not only in commercial and residential, but also in oil and gas. Because they have a plan to become one of the biggest producers of liquid gas, and we want to be part of that. We hope that we will get some this year.”

Saudi Arabia, in which Arabtec recently started operations, would prove to be a “very important market", he said, adding that work there would shortly be announced.

“There will be a lot of work coming in Saudi Arabia. We were awarded the first SR1.5 billion project, as a sub contractor to Bin Laden Group. We will also be announcing officially, when that is signed, another SR1.5bn-2bn (of work). It’s another project in Saudi Arabia, with the same group. We are bidding for other work with other groups that we hope will be successful in the coming few weeks. The value could be another SR2.5bn, but that will be phased,” he said.

Arabtec was also bidding for a project in Egypt with “a major UAE developer”, he said, but did not name the developer.

The company was considering an invitation to bid for work in northern Iraq, but would consider the safety of its staff before making a decision, he added.

“We have been asked to go and look at projects in northern Iraq, which is great. But the question is, which part do you go to, and send your people to? It’s not that we’re not interested.

"There’s also a question of resources – you can’t take a $2bn project in Saudi Arabia and a $5bn in Iraq at the same time. Because then you need to double the number of staff you have.

“We have to be realistic. Now, if the market financially was different, probably we would have taken a more aggressive expansion strategy, but we also have to be very prudent with our resources, and our funding, and make sure we don’t go into areas where it might take longer to materialise any revenue for us.”

Asked to predict how Arabtec would perform this year, Makhzoumi said: “Last year we delivered AED9.6 billion of work. I hope this year will be of similar value. Let’s say Arabtec will deliver in these difficult times eight to AED8.5 billion of business.

"I don’t know if it is a slowdown. Last year, when I gaver the forecast, we were hoping to achieve AED8.5 billion. But I was wrong, and we achieved AED9.6 billion.”

Arabtec Construction is the biggest construction and engineering company in the Middle East, and employs 70,000 people, 46,000 of whom are employed in the UAE.

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