Contractor set to sign joint venture with Aldar Properties, the biggest developer in the emirate

Laing O’Rourke is about to sign a deal to carry out all the construction work commissioned by Abu Dhabi’s biggest developer.

The contractor’s first project with Aldar Properties will be the $18bn (£9.3bn) Al Raha Beach, a mixed-use development close to Abu Dhabi airport.

Al Raha Beach will be built over the next 10 years on a 500 ha site along the beach side of the main highway leading into Abu Dhabi from Dubai. It will be provide 120,000 residential units, along with eight hotels and commercial, retail and leisure space. The aim is to create a city, and this development will be part of it.

Al Raha will be Laing O’Rourke’s first big contract in the Middle East since it appointed Norman Haste chief operating officer in the region in June.

The deal, which sources close to the firm say will be signed this week, will boost Laing O’Rourke chief executive Ray O’Rourke’s strategy to capitalise on large-scale investments planned for the emirate.

Haste joined Al Naboodah Laing O’Rourke, the contractor’s Middle Eastern business, from engineer High-Point Rendel, where he was operations director. Before that he was chief executive of Heathrow Terminal 5 and Crossrail.

Haste is based in Dubai, where Laing O’Rourke worked on the £350m terminal at Dubai International Airport. It ran into problems because of rising steel prices, but the firm’s results for the year ending 31 March, revealed that its profit rose by almost half, to £34m.

Laing O’Rourke was unavailable to comment.