Al Habtoor bags a billion in Qatar

Al Rayan Group awards contracts to build five hotels to be ready before the Asian Games in December 2006

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By  Eudore Chand Published  September 11, 2004

Major local contracting firm Al Habtoor Engineering has won contracts worth Dhs1.18 billion to help develop the hospitality sector in the fast growing state of Qatar. Al Habtoor Engineering is to build five new hotels in Qatar, which are all to be ready before the start of the 15th Asian Games. Qatar will host the games in Doha from the 1st to the 15th December in 2006. “We have won an order to build five hotels in Qatar. The combined value of these projects is about US $320 million,” Cyril Williams, commercial manager of Al Habtoor Engineering told Construction Week. He said leading Qatari business house of Al Rayan Trading awarded the contracts to the Dubai engineering and construction major. “Though we haven’t agreed on a programme yet, the hotels are to be ready before the start of the 15th Asian Games in Doha,” Williams said. The Al Habtoor Engineering commercial manager said that different international hospitality chains such as Shangri-La, Rotana and Sheraton will be among those who will manage the properties. The Gulf state, rich in natural gas reserves, is spending billions of dollars on developing its infrastructure and other facilities to vie with other regional cities for tourist dollars and global investment flows. “We understand that there are projects worth some $20 billion going on there,” said Williams. Qatar has announced massive redevelopment projects that include a completely new international airport to replace Doha’s current airport, apart from the Asian Games complex and the development of its massive North Dome reserves of natural gas. “Doha is trying to make it like Dubai. It now looks like Dubai did in 1974. It is a pretty place and they are trying to revitalise it.” The Al Habtoor Engineering commercial manager said there are mixed reports of the level of construction activity across various Gulf markets. “The previously quickened developments in Saudi Arabia have somewhat slowed down because of security concerns. Yemen too was taking off, but has calmed down nowadays. Iran is doing very well,” said Williams.

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