DUBAI Feb 1 Dubai builder Arabtec has
secured a 20 billion dirham ($5.5 billion) contract from Abu
Dhabi state fund Aabar to build as many as 37 major buildings
across the United Arab Emirates, two sources aware of the matter
Arabtec has won a series of contracts in Abu Dhabi,
including high-profile projects such as the development of Abu
Dhabi's main airport and the Louvre museum there, after Aabar
began building a major stake in the firm in 2012.
The latest contract is one of the largest construction deals
awarded to any builder in the UAE since the real estate markets
in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which crashed during the global
financial crisis, began recovering about 18 months ago.
Aabar plans to build 12 mixed-use towers and 14 residential
towers in Abu Dhabi, plus six furnished hotel apartment
buildings and four hotels in Dubai, one of the sources said,
speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter is not yet
public. All the projects are expected to be completed before
2020, when Dubai will host the World Expo.
Arabtec is expected to announce the contract win imminently,
the source said. Arabtec declined to comment, while Aabar could
not be reached for comment outside business hours in Abu Dhabi.
Aabar, which also owns stakes in companies such as
commodities trader Glencore and Italian bank UniCredit
, now holds about 22 percent of Arabtec, and its
influence on the firm has resulted in a management shake-up and
aggressive expansion under new chief executive Hasan Abdullah
Property prices in Dubai slumped by over 50 percent in
2008-2010, but developers have announced a string of new
projects over the past year as they look to take advantage of a
trade and tourism boom.
($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams)
(Editing by Andrew Torchia)