x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Construction staff moved to save redundancies

Al Futtaim Carillion is moving staff to projects within and outside the region in an effort to avoid making redundancies.

Festival City Mall in Dubai, where two of the free zones now have new executive directors with ambitious plans.
Festival City Mall in Dubai, where two of the free zones now have new executive directors with ambitious plans.

Construction firm Al Futtaim Carillion is moving staff to projects within and outside the region in an effort to avoid redundancies. "We have consulted a small number of staff to discuss the possibility of redeployment to other roles," said a spokesman for the firm, which is a joint venture between Al Futtaim Group and the UK's Carillion. The company, which has a workforce of about 16,000, is the latest to be hit by the slowdown in the construction sector. It has lost at least three contracts at Dubai Festival City, a Dh11 billion (US$2.99bn) residential, commercial and entertainment hub, because of stalled projects. A source within the company said the contract losses had shaved up to Dh5 billion off its order book. Al Futtaim Real Estate, the company developing Dubai Festival City, confirmed earlier this month that it had postponed work on some projects within the development to take advantage of falling construction costs. According to figures from the Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre, the prices of five out of seven steel products fell by 38 per cent last month. Al Futtaim Carillion, the main contractor on Dubai Festival City, has already built a significant part of the development, with 10 million square feet completed since work started in 2003. It is not clear if the postponement on some projects would delay the completion of the development, originally scheduled for 2015. The company has worked on other prominent projects in Dubai, including Motor City, a development in Dubailand by Union Properties. Its work spans project management, engineering, procurement and construction. Construction companies that have confirmed lay-offs in recent months include Al Shafar General Contracting (ASGC), which let go up to 1,000 people last month, while Aldar Laing O'Rourke, a joint venture between Aldar Properties of Abu Dhabi and Laing O'Rourke, the UK contractor, laid off 200 earlier this month. Al Masaood Bergum made 47 people redundant last month, while Al Habtoor Engineering has also made some cuts. The value of construction projects awarded in GCC countries fell 57 per cent to Dh57.66bn in the fourth quarter of last year, compared with the previous quarter, according to a report earlier this month from Meed Projects. The Emirates experienced a 40 per cent drop in projects in the fourth quarter, according to Meed. agiuffrida@thenational.ae