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Tue 6 Jan 2009 02:19 PM

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Meydan confident of hitting 2010 World Cup deadline

Developer says timetable for racecourse remains same despite contract cancellation.

Dozens of companies continue to work on Dubai’s new racecourse and the project is still set for completion in time for the 2010 World Cup, it was announced on Tuesday.

Meydan Group, the master developer overseeing the development, said despite the cancellation of a $1.3 billion contract of two firms involved in its building, the timetable remained the same.

Meydan confirmed it had terminated the contract with Arabtec Holding and WCT Bhd because WCT “failed to abide by the time schedule for the completion (of the project)”, it said in an emailed statement.

A source at Meydan said there was evidence of considerable delay to phases of completion of the main stand and the infrastructure works, a joint contract which had been awarded to UAE-based Arabtec and WCT, of Malaysia.

Meydan said other companies were contracted to construct the main stand and to complete the infrastructure works to ensure the Nad Al Sheba project kept to its targeted schedule.

It said dozens of other companies, both local and international, were still working on the project according to their original contracts to ensure the course would be finished in time for 2010, when it is to be opened with the Dubai World Cup horse race.

Arabtec was unavailable for comment on Tuesday but in a company conference call WCT said it had no plans to begin legal proceedings and would look for an amicable solution to its contract cancellation, newswire Reuters reported on the same day.

Shares of Arabtec, building the Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest tower, plummeted 9.65 percent on Tuesday following news of the contract cancellation.

Shares of WCT dived 30 percent, plunging 29.5 percent to 1.29 ringgit before the company requested a trading halt.

The contract completion date was Oct. 7, 2009, and the venture was to be paid as work was carried out.

The horseracing track, built for the sport’s richest event, the 2010 Dubai World Cup, was designed to be the new home of the Dubai Racing Club.

Meydan earlier said it was considering other companies to complete the racecourse by 2010..

Built on an area of 67 million square feet, the horse racing city will include a luxury hotel and restaurants, a grand stand with a capacity of 60,000, a dirt and turf course and a presidential and commercial complex. Intersecting the creek is a 4km-long water canal linked to Dubai Creek.

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