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Arabtec wins Abu Dhabi contracts

The Dubai-based contractor has enjoyed a string of successes in Abu Dhabi after Aabar’s investment

Abu Dhabi’s construction sector has turned a corner. Following a review of government spending launched in January 2011 that caused many projects to stall, contracts are being awarded once again.

The first sign that Abu Dhabi’s purse strings had been loosened came with the award of the AED7.6bn ($2.1bn) deal to build a new terminal at Abu Dhabi International airport in June 2012.

Then in January, the emirate’s Executive Council announced plans to spend $90bn over the next five years. This was followed by the long-awaited award of the AED2.4bn contract to build the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum.

That Abu Dhabi is spending again will be welcome news for contractors. But they will be less pleased by the fact that one company in particular has been picking up all the major deals.

Dubai-based Arabtec was part of the consortium that won the Midfield Terminal contract and also the consortium that was awarded the Louvre project. More recently on 18 February, Arabtec was selected to build the AED1bn Fairmont Abu Dhabi hotel.

Arabtec has seen an upturn in fortunes in Abu Dhabi over the past year. It previously struggled to win work in the emirate, but since Abu Dhabi government-controlled Aabar Investments became its largest shareholder, the firm has enjoyed a string of successes.

How long this will continue is unclear, but the firm will have capacity for only so much work. Given the ambitious infrastructure programme the Abu Dhabi government has, there will be plenty more contracts up for grabs. Other contractors may just have to be patient a little while longer.