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Sun 16 Jan 2011 11:47 AM

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Dubai’s Jumeirah Group slashes jobs despite expansion plans

Dubai-based hotelier confirms company shake-up, more job cuts possible

Dubai’s Jumeirah Group slashes jobs despite expansion plans
In December, Gerald Lawless, executive chairman of the Jumeirah Group, said the hotel operator would not be sold to help pay off Dubai Holding debts

Jumeirah
Group, Dubai’s luxury hotelier, has confirmed it is slashing jobs despite an
ambitious expansion plan that will see it roll out more than 35 hotels and
resorts worldwide.

Jumeirah,
which last week signed a deal to operate a resort in the British West Indies,
said the job cuts were part of a company-wide shake-up put in place last year.

“In view
of its international expansion, Jumeirah put in place a regional structure,
which unfortunately involved a number of job losses in group and corporate
positions,” said a spokesperson.

“We
anticipate that a number of employees affected by this reorganisation will find
suitable positions in Jumeirah’s new hotels. The changes will not affect
guest-facing services within our hotel operations.”

The
state-backed group did not say how many roles would be lost in the restructuring.

Jumeirah
is a unit of the troubled conglomerate Dubai Holding, which is restructuring
billions of dollars of debt in the wake of the downturn. In December, Gerald Lawless,
executive chairman of the Jumeirah Group, said the hotel operator would not be
sold to help pay off debts.

“I’m
sure that we have a very bright future within Dubai Holding,” he said.

It
emerged last month that Jumeirah had lost two of its key management contracts
in Dubai.

The
group, which counts the Burj Al Arab hotel among its properties, confirmed management
of luxury desert resort Bab Al Shams and the Meydan Hotel has returned to
Meydan.  

Jumeirah
plans to have 60 properties in operation or under development by 2012 as it
expands outside of its domestic markets. In December the group said it was
setting its sights on China, where it currently has six projects underway, for
long term growth.

“We’re
finding that a lot of Chinese businesses are now coming to Dubai, and that is
one of the strongest growth sectors that we've had,” said Lawless.

The
group also plans to operate hotels in Maldives, Shanghai and Germany and build
a hotel in Qatar in time for the 2022 World Cup.

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