x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

DSI lands contract for Abu Dhabi hotel

The Dubai-based engineering contractor has won a Dh187 million contract for work on a hotel in Abu Dhabi.

Drake & Scull International (DSI), the Dubai-based engineering contractor, has won a Dh187 million (US$51m) contract for work on a hotel in Abu Dhabi, bringing the total value of its three new contracts this year to Dh369m. The firm also said yesterday that its board of directors had approved the creation of two units as it continued to expand beyond the UAE.

One new unit, Drake & Scull Construction, "will be the official arm of DSI civil divisions in all regions outside the UAE", the firm said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market. The board also approved the creation of Drake & Scull Construction Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The company is already working on a number of projects in the kingdom and started a recruitment drive there early last year. Khaldoun Tabari, the vice president and chief executive of DSI, said the firm "will hopefully be announcing something [in Saudi Arabia] in the near future".

The board also reviewed the companies that DSI aims to acquire as part of its drive to buy firms whose values have been hit by the construction industry slowdown. DSI has already made a number of deals. In December, it paid Dh80.5m to increase its holding in Kuwait's Electrical Contracting to 75 per cent. That acquisition came a month after the firm paid Dh145m for a stake of 82 per cent in the water treatment company Passavant-Roediger, a unit of Germany's Bilfinger Berger.

With an estimated cash pile of about Dh500m, Mr Tabari said the company was targeting four more deals in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. "Our interest lies in acquiring companies that already have prominence in their own markets and an in-depth understanding of how their markets operate," he said. DSI, which has more than Dh5 billion worth of projects across the Middle East and North Africa, has weathered the global economic downturn better than rivals who were overexposed to residential building, which has slowed dramatically this year as developers cancelled some projects and slowed payment on others.

Shares of DSI fell 1.1 per cent yesterday. @Email:agiuffrida@thenational.ae