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UK giant Laing O'Rourke denies ME withdrawal

Construction firm denies reports that it is to close its ME operations

Al Raha, a joint-venture between Aldar and Laing O'Rourke. Photo: Getty
Al Raha, a joint-venture between Aldar and Laing O'Rourke. Photo: Getty

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British construction firm Laing O’Rourke says there's no truth to the rumour that it is planning to close its Middle East operations.

A Laing O’Rourke source last week told the Building.co.uk trade website in the UK that the firm was cutting its global workforce from 35,753 to around 20,000 and closing its Middle East division. Laing O’Rourke, the UK’s third largest contractor, built Ski Dubai, the huge covered ski facility at the Mall of the Emirates for clients Majid al Futtaim and was also involved in other high profile projects including the Atlantis Hotel and Burj Khalifa

“Laing O'Rourke is not closing its Middle East operations,” a spokesperson said in a statement issued by the company yesterday, adding that it would not be issuing “any further comment on the original media speculation.”

Last year, Aldar Laing O’Rourke, a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi property developer and the UK construction company, told Arabian Business it was cutting 320 jobs.

The firm’s turnover in the region in 2009 doubled to £829m ($225m), while the group's international operations posted managed revenue of £5bn in 2009.

Laing O’Rourke’s current project portfolio in the Middle East includes the 400-bed Dubai University Hospital due for completion in February; the north-south railway in Saudi Arabia that includes track and civil works in joint venture with Mitsui and in consortium with Saudi-based contractor RTCC; and the huge Al Raha Beach project in Abu Dhabi, a joint venture with Aldar properties to develop 11km of coastline in to the ultimate waterfront city. Al Raha is due for completion on 2018.

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Construction Week - Issue 758
Feb 08, 2020