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Wed 3 Mar 2010 04:01 PM

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UK's Carillion eyes Abu Dhabi for major growth

Construction services firm says Middle East operations continue to perform strongly.

UK construction services company Carillion said on Wednesday it still saw major growth in Abu Dhabi despite the impact of the global economic slowdown on the UAE's construction sector.

Announcing a better than expected rise in pre-tax profits of 16 percent to GBP182.2 million, the company said its Middle East operation had "continued to perform strongly".

Its regional operations contributed 21 percent of total underlying operating profit at an improved margin of 8.5 percent, Carillion said in a statement.

It said the performance was due to a "successful expansion into Abu Dhabi and a strong performance in Oman".

Chief executive John McDonough added: “We did not see the collapse coming in Dubai, but contracts in Abu Dhabi have more than picked up the slack, and we see major growth there.

"We have been there for 35 years, and last year we turned over more than GBP300 million compared with GBP100 million the year before,” he said.

Carillion’s Abu Dhabi turnover increased 17-fold to $303m in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2008, the company said last October.

It was boosted by the construction contract for the Marina Hotel, which is part of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix circuit.

The company, which grew revenues 4 percent to GBP5.4 billion in "challenging" market conditions, said it boasts an order book of GBP17.7 billion.

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