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Date: 06/09/2010
Al Habtoor Leighton Group Wins Dh700m DIFC Contract

The Al Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG) has been awarded a Dh700 million building project in Dubai by Daman Investments, the company said in a statement.

The project involves the completion of ‘Daman's Buildings by Daman' project at the Dubai International Financial Centre. The project has already commenced, HLG will be responsible for completing its delivery. The development comprises three towers — a 20-storey office block, a 60-storey hotel, and a 60-storey apartment block with an intricate steel inter-connection between the two towers.

HLG will commence work immediately and the project is due for completion by December 2011.

"While there has been an adjustment to the Dubai building market, there are still a number of prospects for us with clients who value quality and creative delivery mechanisms. We're seeing significant opportunities in large-scale infrastructure across the region," said Laurie Voyer, CEO and managing director of HLG.

Challenging Period

A recent report released by Dubai Chamber revealing that Dh2.63 trillion worth of construction projects are either at the design stage or already under way in the UAE are tentative signs that construction is picking up.

The UAE still accounts for more than half of the $1.3 trillion (Dh4.7 trillion) GCC construction projects despite the industry grinding to a near halt amid the global economic downturn, the report says.

"Following a challenging period in 2009 and this year, construction developers in the UAE are expecting a more promising 2011 and beyond. In recent months, firms are branching into new markets, switching focus from private to public sector schemes and forming new alliances in a bid to win work in an increasingly competitive environment," the report said.

"This trend is expected to continue in the short term with the UAE government's drive to stimulate the economy by spending heavily on infrastructural projects, particularly in Abu Dhabi."

Voyer said that the group is pursuing a number of other opportunities across the Middle East and that he expects to be able to announce further new projects over the coming months.

"We're seeing significant opportunities in large-scale infrastructure across the region," he said.

The rapid economic diversification that the UAE has achieved over the years has come primarily from its large construction sector boom.

"The government has been clear in its mandate to economically diversify the economy and the construction sector has played a critical part in this," said a Dubai Chamber spokesperson.

"However, the global economic slowdown that took hold towards the end of 2008 brought an abrupt end to the UAE's construction boom. Since then, many building projects have been cancelled or put on hold and there has been little in the way of new project awards."