Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

Drake & Scull appoints new CEO and CFO

Munir Mansour is the company's first chief executive since April 2019 when former head Tawfiq Abu Soud left after three months

Drake & Scull's headquarters at Dubai International Production Zone. The company gained approval frmo the UAE's Financial Reorganisation Committee in June to enter into a restructuring as it attempts to address Dh5bn of accumulated losses. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National
Drake & Scull's headquarters at Dubai International Production Zone. The company gained approval frmo the UAE's Financial Reorganisation Committee in June to enter into a restructuring as it attempts to address Dh5bn of accumulated losses. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National

Dubai-based contractor Drake & Scull International appointed a new chief executive and a new chief financial officer.

Munir Mansour has been appointed as the new chief executive, while Peter Lalor has been named “as the new group chief financial officer to replace the previous group chief financial officer, who left the company”, DSI said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market, without giving further details.

Both roles have changed a number of times in the past three years, in what has been a tumultuous period for the contractor, whose shares have been suspended from the market since November 2018.

The last chief executive to be appointed by the company was Tawfiq Abu Soud, who joined the company in January 2019 and left three months later. The last group chief financial officer to be appointed was Saed Saabneh, who joined in July 2019. The company did not say when he left.

In July, Drake & Scull said it has been accepted by the Financial Reorganisation Committee that will help it press on with a restructuring process. The FRC is a body set up in 2018 under the UAE’s bankruptcy law whose members include representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Justice, the Central Bank of the UAE, the Securities and Commodities Authority, and the Governments of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

Drake & Scull, which underwent a capital restructuring in 2017 to wipe out losses ahead of a Dh500m capital injection from strategic investor Tabarak Investment, has since accumulated losses of more than Dh5bn. In a note to the DFM in June, the company said the losses were “mainly a product of significant provisioning of work in progress and contract receivables in legacy projects in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, India and the UAE”, which had been kept on its books despite warnings by auditors since 2016 on the recoverability of receivables..

It resolved to address the losses by closing out legacy projects, negotiating settlements with banks and creditors, improving operational efficiency and pursuing “legal cases filed against previous management”.

The contractor marked a return to profitability after it recorded a net profit from continuing operations of Dh262 million in 2019, compared to a loss of Dh4.9 billion a year earlier.

Drake & Scull has filed criminal complaints against its former vice-chairman Khaldoun Tabari and members of his family, leading to his arrest in his home country of Jordan in January.

It said in February Mr Tabari is facing “charges of misappropriation, fraud, embezzlement, intentional damage to public funds, profiteering and forgery”.

Mr Tabari has said he is the victim of a smear campaign, stating that the “unfounded” allegations made against him were unwarranted commercial claims, not criminal complaints.

Updated: September 3, 2020 07:50 PM

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