Negotiations between the two parties are under way, although sources close to the discussions tell MEED there is still a lot of work to be done before any final agreement is signed.

If the deal goes ahead, a company will be set up to build TDIC projects in Abu Dhabi. It is expected to operate in a similar way to a joint venture of TDIC and Australia’s Gulf Leighton, which was formed in early December last year (MEED 6:12:07).

TDIC owns 51 per cent of TDIC-Leighton Contracting. Although that joint venture has been engaged in some building projects, such as the Eastern Mangrove hotel, the majority of its work involves Leighton’s traditional line in civil works.

A joint venture with Alec is expected to focus on building works. The contractor has gained considerable experience in Dubai in recent years. Projects on which it has been involved include Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai Marina Mall, Mirdif City Centre and the redevelopment of the World Trade Centre.

Alec is working for TDIC on the Qasr al-Sarab resort in the Liwa Oasis area, in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi. In September, it also bid for a resort planned by TDIC on Saadiyat island, although Dubai-based Arabtec Construction is the frontrunner (MEED 19:8:08).

The $27bn Saadiyat scheme, which will turn the island into a leisure, cultural and residential area, is TDIC’s largest.