Abu Dhabi stalls another project as slowdown continues

09 November 2011

TDIC tells consultants to stop working on its Al-Bateen development

Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company has told consultants to stop working on its Al-Bateen Wharf East Marina development as the emirate’s construction market continues to slow down.

TDIC instructed the consultant Arif & Bintoak to stop working on the scheme in mid-October. Since then TDIC has said that it may revisit the project at a later date. “TDIC will continue working on delivering the Al-Bateen Wharf East Marina project in a streamlined approach, and we look forward to working with Arif & Bintoak in the future.”

TDIC projects by status ($ bn)
On hold2.182
Source: MEED Projects

The decision to halt work on the project come after work on the infrastructure, marine works, dredging, shoring, and quay walls were completed ahead of schedule on 16 October. TDIC and the project’s consultants were also planning future stages of the project. “TDIC has been working diligently with its consulting team including Arif & Bintoak on value engineering and phasing of the project,” it said.

The Al-Bateen Wharf East Marina is the second phase of TDIC’s Al-Bateen Wharf development. It was to include a yacht club and a marina on the southwestern edge of Abu Dhabi Island near to the Intercontinental Hotel overlooking Hudariyat Island (MEED 5:11:09).

In early 2010, TDIC completed phase one of the project, which consisted of the Fisherman’s Marina.  Dubai-based AST completed the estimated AED142m ($38.6m) contract.

The Al-Bateen Wharf East Marina scheme is not the first project to have been put on hold or rescheduled by TDIC in recent months as the government-controlled developer scales back its plans as it struggles to secure funding for its projects in Abu Dhabi. With major projects in Abu Dhabi city, on Saadiyat Island and the Western Region, TDIC is one of the most active clients in Abu Dhabi.

TDIC awards 2009-2011 ($bn)
Source: MEED Projects

In July, it cancelled the tender for the structural package on the Guggenheim museum, which is planned for its Saadiyat Island development.

TDIC informed contractors over the summer it is reviewing its procurement strategy for the project and will not be awarding the contract at this stage and bid bonds will be returned to bidders. Contractors submitted bids for the estimated AED400m package on 20 March this year. Delays are also expected on its estimated AED1bn Louvre museum project as contractors wait for the main construction contract to be awarded. Contractors submitted bids for the work in November last year and TDIC  shortlisted two groups, Australia’s Multiplex and a joint venture of the local/Australian Al-Habtoor Leighton Group with South Africa’s Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East) for contract in March.

Suppliers and contractors working in Abu Dhabi also complain that they are experiencing cash flow problems because of slow payment on TDIC projects. TDIC said it is working closely with contractors to make sure timely payments are made.

The slowdown on TDIC’s projects follows the developer’s decision in late July to delay a planned a bond issue because of turmoil in the global bond markets. TDIC started approaching bond investors in mid-July, and announced in its prospectus for the bond that its 2011 budget had been revised down by about AED5bn because of delays to Abu Dhabi’s development plans (MEED 15:07:11).

“While the long-term strategy remains in place, the government is focusing on ensuring that financial discipline is maintained and identifying specific projects which, in light of changed circumstances, may be deferred or adapted to reflect those circumstances,” TDIC said in its prospectus, which was published in late June.

TDIC is not the only client in Abu Dhabi to cut back on its projects. Other firms have delayed contract awards, cancelled tenders and put upcoming schemes on hold. Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport (DoT) cut its budget for its Surface Transport Masterplan (STMP), which was originally expected to cost $68bn to deliver, and Mubadala Development Company has put plans for its MGM development on hold, while cancelling tenders for a proposed football stadium and a hospital in Al-Ain.

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