x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Abu Dhabi builds $95m deal book for construction

Abu Dhabi has awarded more than Dh350 million worth of contracts to Arabtec and Drake & Scull.

The Abu Dhabi Government has awarded more than Dh350 million (US$95.2m) in construction contracts to UAE companies.

The news provides further evidence that the emirate is renewing its expansive building programme.

Target Engineering, a subsidiary of the Dubai construction company Arabtec, yesterday announced Dh256m worth of deals in Abu Dhabi. These included a Dh110m contract for work on the Ruwais Refinery Expansion Project and Dh116m deal to work on the Emirates Aluminium Smelter Project.

Drake & Scull International (DSI) also announced a Dh127m contract to perform mechanical, electrical and plumbing work on an "iconic government facility", which it declined to name.

"We're optimistic about Abu Dhabi," said Zeina Tabari, the chief corporate affairs officer of DSI. "We hope to announce more projects in Abu Dhabi."

The awards follow last week's decision by the Executive Council to invest millions of dirhams in projects, after a lengthy review of Abu Dhabi's building programme. Dozens of projects in the pipeline were stalled for months.

"It's a positive note that Abu Dhabi is putting projects back on the map," Ms Tabari said.

Meanwhile, signs continue to emerge of the impact of the slowdown on local companies. Yesterday Bildco - a group of companies including the Abu Dhabi National Company for Building Materials, Bildco Reinforcing Steel Services and Bildco Cement Products - reported a Dh5.5m loss for last year, compared with a Dh28m profit the previous year.

Bildco's sales fell 41 per cent last year to Dh312m from Dh538m in 2010. The company did not offer an explanation for the drop.

But the Executive Council's announcement last week provided hope that Abu Dhabi would once again develop as a major market for construction companies. A wide array of projects were approved for funding, with an emphasis on infrastructure, health care and education developments.

Many of the projects were in advanced stages of planning.

"These were things that were in the pipeline," Ms Tabari said. "Nothing new."

DSI's latest contract is an extension of an existing project, scheduled for handover next year, Ms Tabari said.

kbrass@thenational.ae

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