By Edward Attwood
Abu Dhabi moves forward with Saadiyat Island museum plans, work to be completed in 2015
Dubai contractor Arabtec has won a key $653m contract to build Abu Dhabi’s version of the Louvre museum.
The Louvre, an offshoot of the celebrated Paris institution, is one of three huge museums being built on Saadiyat Island by the government-backed Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC).
Alongside the Guggenheim and the Zayed National Museum, the Louvre had been scheduled to open either this year or in 2014 but had been delayed after a government review of projects.
In a statement on the Dubai Financial Market, Arabtec said that construction was due to finish in 2015. Its joint venture partners on the project are Constructoura Jose and Oger Abu Dhabi.
It is the latest contract won by Arabtec following recent awards including the Abu Dhabi International Airport expansion, a $631m contract to help redevelop the centre of Doha and the Lakhta Centre in St Petersburg.
In November, Arabtec Holding beat analysts' expectations despite posting a 10.5 percent fall in third-quarter profit.
The builder made a profit of AED35m ($9.5m) in the three months to September 30, compared with AED39.1m in the same period in 2011.
The builder has also gradually shifted its focus to Saudi Arabia and Qatar over the last few years as its home market of Dubai continued to be impacted by the property market collapse.
However, a gradual recovery has prompted some developers to restart stalled projects.
Last year, Abu Dhabi-based Aabar, which has stakes in commodities giant Glencore, carmaker Daimler and Italian lender Unicredit, took a majority stake in Arabtec.For all the latest construction news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.