Layoffs at Limitless and Nakheel

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Dubai World

property developers have undergone a new round of lay-offs, as chief restructuring advisor

Aiden Birkett

cuts the companies down to size and reduces costs.

Photo caption: The abandoned Arabian Canal project, which was originally supposed to be a 75km waterway through the desert outside Dubai. Tom Gara / The National

Limitless

has laid off about 20 per cent, or 55, of its staff. It currently has 220 employees, according to former staff. The company had about 500 staff at its peak.

"Limitless has reorganised and streamlined its operations as part of its ongoing strategy to reduce costs while continuing to maximise productivity," a spokeswoman said. "Regrettably, this has impacted jobs."

A

Nakheel

spokesperson said the company "continues to readjust its current business objectives and the resources to match as part of the restructuring process". The company has previously let go of more than 1,000 people. It had 3,500 people at its peak.

The fate of these two property developers is the next big question in Dubai. They owe billions of dirhams in debt to banks and contractors. And they have giant, unfinished projects that need new capital to ever be complete. Nakheel's

Palm Jebel Ali

- which is even larger than the finished Palm Jumeirah - comes to mind.

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As does the

Arabian Canal

, which was a planned 75km waterway through the desert outside Dubai. A short visit to the site this weekend found it completely abandoned, although the company did impressively dig several kilometres of it. (Check out the original multimedia package The National did on the canal

.) More pictures of the current state of the canal

.

Some analysts believe they will be merged together after selling off some assets to become a new Dubai developer with a new brand. Others believe that at least one of them will simply be liquidated. Another optimistic camp believes they will be restructured and continue operating. Either way, there are major changes afoot.

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