Engineer Arup is set to return to the Middle East five years after pulling out of the region, with its researchers assessing a number of projects in the area.

The international consultant sees the area as a potential growth market, and is considering bidding for projects in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Terry Hill, Arup chairman, said that the return to the region was a “significant move” for the company. He confirmed: “Our involvement is still in its very early stages, but the region will be a big area for us.”

Arup was one of a number of Western companies to enter the region in the 1990s, before switching its focus to Asia.

Hill denied that the company’s return to the Middle East was due to an anticipated slowing of the Chinese market once contracts for the 2008 Olympics are completed.

He said: “We aren’t seeing any slow up in China, and we are still winning projects in the area. We see China as a long-term involvement for us.”