Middle East firms repay Atkins USD12.9m

19 Jun 2011

(MENAFN) Middle Eastern government and semi-government firms repayed USD12.9 million worth of debt to WS Atkins, a British engineering consultancy this year, Arabian Business reported.

The majority of the debt recovery came from the UAE where Atkins, along with other construction firms, saw delayed payments and writedowns after Dubai’s 2008 property market collapse, Richard Barrett, Atkins managing director, Middle East, said. Atkins did most of its business in the UAE. As a result of the collapse, Atkins decreased its Middle East staff by 16.5 percent to 1,555 employees in 2010.

The recovery contributed to a 70 percent rise in the company’s full-year profit in the Middle East to USD37 million this year, Barrett said. Atkins full pre-tax profit for the year rose to USD166.3 million from USD152 million in 2010. The firm plans to hire new employees in Saudi Arabia and Qatar this year, the managing director said.

Two of the largest defaulters, Nakheel, the real estate arm of Dubai world, and Al Habtoor Leighton are to pay back USD1.3 billion and USD800 million, respectively, in the next few months. Atkins, Halcrow, EC Harris, Hyder, Mouchel and WSP were all awaiting repayment in January.

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