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Fri 23 Jan 2009 07:28 AM

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Company cuts staff after Nakheel Tower delay

EXCLUSIVE: Contract blow forces MEP firm to change plans, reduce staff.

The firm carrying out the building services engineering contract for Nakheel’s tallest tower project has had to cut its staff numbers by more than half.

The move follows the delay to the scheme, the deputy chief executive of the firm told Arabian Business.

But Norman Disney & Young (NDY) has several mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) contracts in the pipeline in the UAE and Bahrain on which announcements are expected soon, said Dennis O'Brien, who is also Middle East director of the Australian consulting engineers.

NDY has had to slash its number of engineers and other workers from 12 to five after it was revealed earlier this month that Nakheel was stopping work on the 1km plus tower in Dubai as a result of a slowdown in the property market.

“We’ve had to change our plans, reduce staff and get more focused on marketing our services,” said O'Brien in an interview.

He declined to say how much the contract had been worth to NDY, saying only it was a multi-million dollar deal.

“Time would tell,” whether the building would go ahead but the company “would gear up to do whatever we need to do when it happens,” he said.

NDY has suspended its work on the tower and had to vacate the project’s offices after they shut down this week. It has also had to shelve plans to recruit more staff.

The company is working on Etihad Towers, a five tower mixed-use project in Abu Dhabi, and has completed work on the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Ritz Carlton hotel.

With a presence in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, NDY’s turnover for 2007-08 was in excess of $100 million.

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