x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Depa blames Dh119m loss on Qatar airport row

Depa reported a Dh119.6 million loss yesterday that the Dubai-based fit-out contractor blamed on a bitter legal row involving a new airport in Qatar.

Akbar Al Baker, the Qatar Airways chief executive, has blamed the joint venture between Depa and German contractor Lindner for delaying the New Doha International Airport's opening by up to a year. Randi Sokoloff / The National
Akbar Al Baker, the Qatar Airways chief executive, has blamed the joint venture between Depa and German contractor Lindner for delaying the New Doha International Airport's opening by up to a year. Randi Sokoloff / The National

Depa reported a Dh119.6 million (US$32.6m) loss yesterday that the Dubai-based fit-out contractor blamed on a legal row involving a new airport in Qatar.

The contractor that helped build Burj Khalifa attributed the loss on costs it incurred surrounding its work on the New Doha International Airport which was due to have opened in December but has been delayed.

In December, Qatar Airways said it was filing a $600m legal claim against a joint venture between Depa and the German contractor Lindner for delaying the airport's opening by up to a year.

The move was the latest in a series of delays which pushed back the completion of the $15.5 billion hub by three years and resulted in a $1bn overspend. The joint venture was dismissed from the Dh900m fit-out contract last June.

Lindner Depa has always denied that it was responsible for the delays and said that it was prevented access to the site for much of the construction period.

"The bottom line was impacted by taking full provision on the net exposure of the New Doha project and impairing the value of investments in two of our associate companies," the company said in a statement.

Speaking at the Iata World Cargo Symposium in Doha earlier this week, the Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Bakersaid the airline would claim "a very large amount" for delays to the project.

Depa, which is 24 per cent owned by Dubai's largest contractor Arabtec, said its provision for bad debts was Dh125.5m, which included the Doha Airport project as well as the Port Baku and JW Marriott projects in Azerbaijan.It added that gross profits for the year stood at Dh158m - still down on last year's Dh289m.

Revenues for last year increased by 12 per cent to Dh1.9bn as it completed 393 projects in 19 countries.

However, the value of the company's backlog of projects also decreased to Dh2.75bn compared with the Dh2.87bn of projects it was involved with last year, not including the new Doha airport.

The company said it planned to centralise functions such as estimation, engineering and design development as part of its restructuring process.

 

lbarnard@thenational.ae