Arabtec ‘on track’ with Europe’s tallest tower in Russia

The controversial St Petersburg project was originally announced six years ago.

Arabtec is building what is planned tobe Europe's tallest tower in St Petersburg (Pictured). Jose Fuste Raga / Corbis
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Arabtec Holding yesterday scotched reports that it had abandoned plans to build what could be Europe's tallest tower in Russia because of political instability.

It is the latest twist in the history of the controversial St Petersburg project that was originally announced six years ago.

Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russia’s national gas company, struck its initial deal with the contractor in April 2008. But it was delayed by a series of planning issues. A first phase contract was subsequently awarded in 2012.

Yesterday the builder said it was on track with the 400 metre-tall tower. The stock rose 9.4 per cent.

"The project is well on its way as per the schedule agreed upon with Gazprom," it said in a filing to the Dubai Financial Market.

The tower, which will house Gazprom’s headquarters, is expected to be Europe’s tallest tower on completion.

Foreign investment in Russia has come under scrutiny since the toppling of Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovich in February. That was followed by Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, part of Ukraine, but with a Russian-speaking majority.

An Arabtec spokesman said that the builder would strengthen its presence in Russia while seeking to develop more partnerships.

The contractor, which is part-owned by Abu Dhabi’s Aabar, has snapped up a series of high profile contracts in recent months with projects announced from North Africa to Eastern Europe.

Last month it reported its order backlog had increased by more than a fifth over the last year to Dh24 billion.

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