Al Habtoor Leighton eyes Qatar World Cup projects

Construction giant says it has 'mobilised' to bid on projects for Cup

Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of the Al Habtoor Group.
Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of the Al Habtoor Group.

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Al Habtoor Leighton Group, a joint venture between Dubai’s Al Habtoor Group and Australia’s Leighton Group, is bidding for deals in Qatar as the state gears up to host the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar is spending billions of dollars on infrastructure, hotels and football stadiums for the month-long tournament, offering rich pickings to local contractors.

Official estimates expect the Gulf state will spend around $55bn but analysts have predicted it could be up to as much as $86.5bn.

“Definitely, we have mobilised [to bid for projects in Qatar]. We have an office in Doha, we have a lot of projects and we’re looking forward to working with the Qatari government,” said Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, which sold a 45% stake in his contracting business to Leighton Holdings in 2007.

Gulf contracting firms badly hurt by the collapse of Dubai’s construction boom have been competing for a slice of Qatar’s lucrative market.

In December Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group said it was eying projects in the Gulf state while Drake and Scull International and Arabtec Construction are both bidding for contracts.

Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 football event in December but has been battling controversy since with suggestions the games should be moved to the winter in a bid to cope with the country’s soaring temperatures.

Al Habtoor said he thought the Gulf state was well equipped to cope with the tournament and the Gulf should be proud to host such a prestigious event.

“I think they are qualified to host it,” he said. “This is really something to be proud of. All of the Arab world should be happy and proud. It is the first time to be hosted by an Arab country.

“This is a great thing for Qatar, a great thing for the GCC and the rest of the Arab world,” he added.

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