UAE's largest contractor posts loss for last quarter of 2009

The UAE’s largest contractor Arabtec has posted a loss for the last quarter of 2009, with profit for the full year slashed by 50%. The contractor, whose projects include the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, blamed the results on a charge of about $80m (£53.5m) for bad debts.

Arabtec said today its net profit for 2009 had been halved down to 494.9m dirhams (£90m) from 959m (£174.5m) in 2008. In the fourth quarter of 2009 it made a loss of 16.8m dirhams compared with a profit of 184.8m dirhams in the same period the previous year. Turnover for the year fell 21 per cent to 7.67bn dirhams.

Last week Arabtec revealed it had stopped work on a £400m Nakheel scheme over a payment dispute. Nakheel is owned by state-controlled entity Dubai World, which shocked global markets in November by saying it would ask to delay repaying $26bn (£16.9bn) of its debts. Nakheel owes money to UK contractors and consultants, as well as banks and bond-holders, and payments are understood to have slowed even further amid the restructuring talks.

In January Arabtec announced it would sell a controlling stake to Abu Dhabi state-linked investment fund Aabar. It has also begun diversifying heavily beyond Dubai into markets including Saudi Arabia.