x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Depa signs its biggest contract yet

Depa, the Dubai interior contractor, has signed a Dh929 million deal, the largest in its history, to fit out lounges in the Doha airport

The Doha airport deal is part of Depa's move to focus more on government-funded infrastructure projects. Osama Faisal / AP Photo
The Doha airport deal is part of Depa's move to focus more on government-funded infrastructure projects. Osama Faisal / AP Photo

Depa, the interior contractor for the world's tallest building, has signed its biggest contract to help to complete Doha's new international airport.

The Dh929 million (US$252.9m) deal calls for the Dubai contractor to fit out 27 lounges in the airport, which is shaping up as one of the most luxurious transportation facilities in the world.

Some of the lounges will be in a terminal reserved only for business and first-class passengers.

"They really want them [the airport lounges] to be five-star luxury," said Noor Sweid, Depa's managing director of strategy.

Thanks to the airport deal, Depa's backlog of projects has jumped to a record Dh3.9 billion, up from Dh2.3bn at the end of June. The increase was due in part to a "significant pick-up" in projects that previously had been delayed. "The decision making [on projects] was delayed and now it is back on track," Ms Sweid said. "Nobody wanted to make any commitments in March."

The Doha airport deal is part of Depa's move to focus more on government-funded infrastructure projects. The contract will be handled by Lindner Depa, the company's joint venture established to focus on infrastructure projects.

Depa has been working to diversify away from its Dubai base. Of the 10 biggest projects in its backlog, only one is in the UAE.

Depa's recent deals include a Dh375m contract for architectural finishes at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Riyadh and Dh109m for interior work at the new international terminal in Mumbai.

Qatar is turning into a major source of work for the company. The backlog of projects includes a Dh119m contract for the Twin Towers Hotel and a Dh79m deal for work on Doha City Center.

The $14.4bn Doha airport will eventually cover 2,200 hectares and be one of the world's largest airports.

It is designed to handle 50 million passengers a year by the time it is completed in 2015.

Interiors will include a bamboo forest and pools to provide "sensory refreshment for travellers", according to the airport's website.

Depa's shares closed unchanged yesterday at 44.5 cents, compared with this year's peak of 60 cents on May 4.

kbrass@thenational.ae