Arabtec CEO resigns

Construction giant confirms Hasan Ismaik has quit the company

Hasan Ismaik, chief executive of Arabtec.
Hasan Ismaik, chief executive of Arabtec.

Hasan Ismaik, chief executive of major Dubai construction firm Arabtec, has resigned.

A spokesman for Arabtec Holding Co. confirmed earlier reports with a statement to Mubasher (Dubai's Financial Market).

“He will resign at the end of the board’s meeting on Wednesday,” said the spokesman.

Ismaik was appointed CEO in February 2013.

A source familiar with the situation, who declined to be identified, said Mohamed Al Fahim, a board member from Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), would become Arabtec's acting CEO.

The source also said Ismaik would "for the time being" continue to hold his 28.85% stake in Arabtec.

Earlier this week, Ismaik claimed the firm continued to have a good relationship with major shareholder Aabar Investments, despite the negative impact on its share price as a result of the Abu Dhabi fund's decision to reduce its stake.

Aabar cut its stake in the company to 18.85% from 21.57% between 8 and 11 June. The stake is now 18.94%, according to bourse data.

Arabtec's share price has slumped 48% since its peak in May as a result of the move.

The Aabar divestment raised fears among investors that Aabar, which has played a key role in steering billions of dollars of contracts to Arabtec, might be reducing its commitment to the firm. Aabar has declined to comment on its strategy.

In an interview with Al Arabiya television on Monday, Ismaik said recent rumours of a conflict between the managements of Aabar and Arabtec were untrue.

As Aabar cut its stake, Ismaik has raised his own holdings in the company. In late May, Arabtec said Ismaik had raised his stake to 21.46% from 8.03%; on Sunday, bourse data showed his stake had risen further to 28.85%.

Ismaik said on Monday that the recent changes in Arabtec's ownership structure had nothing to do with its huge project pipeline, which he put at AED215bn ($58.6bn) around the region. This apparently includes a $40bn deal announced earlier this year to build one million homes in Egypt.

In early June, Forbes magazine said Ismaik, 37, had become the first Jordanian billionaire - and the third-youngest billionaire in the Middle East - because of his Arabtec stake, estimating his net worth at $1.4bn. Forbes said it was not clear where Ismaik raised the money to boost his Arabtec stake.

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