News in brief

Arabtec appoints global operations officer

ARABTEC Holding, a leading engineering and construction group of companies specialising in complex projects in the Middle East and North Africa region, has appointed Sameh Muhtadi as chief operating officer for international operations at Arabtec Construction.

Muhtadi is a seasoned executive with a proven track record in building and leading organisations specialised in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracting, real estate development, and financial investing.

Muhtadi brings along over 30 years of experience in real estate development, investment, project management, and construction. He comes to Arabtec from Orascom Construction Industries, where he served as managing director.

Meanwhile, the Dubai-based engineering and construction group is in discussion with the Egyptian government to set up a new joint real estate company for the development of the previously announced one million residential units in the country.

The company is holding discussions with various Egyptian government bodies including the Ministry of Defence, said a report by Gulf News.

The $40-billion project will include houses to be built in various locations, with the project expected to be completed in phases over five years.


Habtoor Leighton Group reaches Qatar settlement

HABTOOR Leighton Group (HLG), the 45 per cent-owned Middle East subsidiary of Australia-based contractor Leighton, has reached a financial settlement over a contract dispute in Qatar.

HLG began legal action last year over money owed by a client in Doha for a construction project – reported to be the $325-million Doha City Centre Expansion project, which involves the construction of five hotel towers.

The contractor said the Qatari client had agreed to repay 40 per cent of the funds it owed HLG, with the full balance to be repaid over 18 months following the handover of the project to the client.

According to the agreement with the client Al Faisal Holding (AFH), HLG will complete the works on the Phase Three City Center Expansion project, consisting of three Hotel towers, no later than six months from the signing date. The agreement also provides for milestone payments to be made which are directly related to HLG’s six-month completion of works schedule, and the completion of any snags relating to the works.

In a statement, HLG says the agreement “significantly reduces the risk exposure of HLG to Leighton”.

Leighton is readying HLG for an initial public offering (IPO) which is expected to be launched in 2016.