State-owned fund Aabar to take controlling stake in Dubai's largest contractor if shareholders approve

Dubai's biggest contractor Arabtec, which worked on the world's tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, has agreed to sell a controlling stake to Abu Dhabi. While Dubai does not hold shares in Arabtec, it is the contractor's biggest debtor.

A state-controlled investment fund in Abu Dhabi called Aabar is taking 70% of Arabtec for 6.42bn dirhams (£1.1bn) in a deal still to be approved by existing shareholders.

The deal is the latest in a string of moves aimed at bringing Abu Dhabi and Dubai closer.

Burj Khalifa
Arabtec worked on the recently opened Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower

The move follows Abu Dhabi giving Dubai a $10bn (£6.2bn) bail out in December to help it pay its debts. This came after state-owned company Dubai World, which owns developers Nakheel and Limitless, announced in November it would seek to freeze repayments on $26bn of debt.

Tom Barry, chief executive of Arabtec, recently told Building that the contractor was owed around £500m by developers in the UAE.