April 22, 2012 / 4:36 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Dubai's Arabtec wins contract from shareholder Aabar

(Adds details, background)

DUBAI, APRIL 22 - Dubai builder Arabtec on Sunday said its unit won a 222 million dirhams ($60.44 million) construction contract from top shareholder Aabar Investments to build a residential development in the oil-rich emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Arabtec, in which state-owned investment fund Aabar owns a 10.45 percent stake, said the contract to build a tower of 229 apartments would take 22 months to complete.

Abu Dhabi sovereign fund Aabar, which owns stakes in high-profile names such as German carmaker Daimler, commodities trader Glencore and Italy's UniCredit , doubled its Arabtec stake to 10.45 percent in April after it boosted its holding to 5.3 percent in early March.

Analysts have said the fund may increase the stake further and some of Aabar's top executives were nominated to the board of Arabtec this month, in a sign of the fund's growing influence in the Dubai builder.

Aabar, which was unsuccessful in buying a 70-percent stake worth $1.7 billion in Arabtec two years ago, is involved in some master developments across Abu Dhabi. It has cut about a third of its staff amid a continuing property downturn.

Some Abu Dhabi developers have been forced to cancel projects and restructure debts.

Arabtec, the largest builder in the United Arab Emirates by market value, reported a three-fold rise in fourth-quarter net profit last month.

Its shares have more than doubled in value this year on the Dubai bourse, riding on key contract wins and stake purchase by Aabar. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams) (Reporting by Dinesh Nair; Editing by Matt Smith)

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