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Wed 6 May 2015 09:37 AM

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Dubai's Arabtec names new chairman

Abu Dhabi businessman Mohamed Thani Murshed Ghannam Al Rumaithi replaces Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi

Dubai's Arabtec names new chairman

The board of
Dubai builder Arabtec has elected Abu Dhabi businessman Mohamed Thani Murshed
Ghannam Al Rumaithi as its new chairman in a move that analysts said could
unnerve investors who have witnessed much turmoil in recent months.

Rumaithi, who
is also chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, replaces
Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi, who was not nominated for renewed board membership
last month.

Arabtec shares
were trading 1.1 percent lower at 0800 GMT, against a 0.4 percent gain for the
wider Dubai market.

The departure
of Qubaisi, also ousted as chairman of Abu Dhabi state-owned International
Petroleum Investment Company last month, is the latest in a series of senior
management changes at the Dubai-based contractor.

Hasan Ismaik
resigned as chief executive last June after a tumultuous six-week power
struggle between the Jordanian and Arabtec's major shareholder Aabar
Investments. Ismaik's departure led to the exit of a number of other senior
management figures.

"The new
chief has to work out a strategy for the company and there might be changes.
This is unsettling for investors in that stock," said Sanyalaksna
Manibhandu, head of research at NBAD Securities.

"Investors
are looking for continuity and are not getting it," he said, adding that
one positive is that Aabar remains a major shareholder in Arabtec.

The appointment
of a new chairman could also be the beginning of a new style of management at
Arabtec, said a source familiar with Abu Dhabi's thinking.

"This management
will be different and will in the first few months review the company's
projects, its liabilities, cash flow and put together a plan to stabilise the
company," he said, declining to be named.

Arabtec has
major projects on hand, including a $36.7 billion project to build one million
housing units in Egypt, as well as projects in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The
company posted a net loss of $25.7 million in the fourth quarter of last year,
with high costs weighing on its bottom line.

Rumaithi's
family business, Thani Murshid Group, is the Abu Dhabi partner of consumer
goods conglomerate Unilever . He is also chairman of National Marine Dredging
Co .

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