Arabtec restructures top management and appoints new chief executive

Contractor says Wail Farsakh, who joined the group last year, has made ‘considerable progress’ in finishing legacy projects

Arabtec signage announces yet another projects for teh development company, as seen on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2013, at a residential unit construction site on Reem Island in Abu Dhabi. (Silvia Razgova / The National)

Section:  Business
Publication: Undated
Reporter: stock

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Arabtec, the UAE's largest listed contracting company, promoted Wail Farsakh from group chief operating officer to chief executive and appointed Najeh Awad as acting chief financial officer.

“Wail joined Arabtec ... in September  2019  and  has  primarily  focused  on  restructuring  Arabtec’s construction  business," the contractor said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market, where its shares trade. 

"In the past eight months, considerable progress has been made in closing out legacy projects, strengthening line and project management and closely aligning the group's construction-related businesses.”

Mr Farsakh has more than 33 years of experience in the UAE’s construction sector, having previously served as general manager of the former Dutco Balfour Beatty joint venture. 

He takes over from Peter Pollard, who was hired as chief financial officer in April 2017 by Hamish Tyrwhitt, chief executive at the time. Mr Pollard took over as chief executive last May after Mr Tyrwhitt’s departure.

Mr Awad's most recent post was that of group chief financial officer at Abu Dhabi Ship Building and he also held the same post at Abu Dhabi General Services Company before that. He has also worked at Ernst & Young, PwC and JP Morgan in the US.

The board thanked Mr Pollard for his work, which it said “allowed Arabtec to rebuild a long-term leadership team”.

Arabtec, which has a workforce of more than 45,000, suffered its first full-year loss since 2016 last year, mainly owing to weaker income from its construction business as liquidity for projects remained tight.

The company reported a net loss to shareholders of Dh774.5 million, compared to a profit of Dh256.3m in 2018 as revenue fell 21 per cent to Dh7.78 billion.

A slowdown in the real estate sector resulted in fewer contracts being awarded. The settlements and recovery of claims and losses from an investment in an associate company also reduced profitability.

However, Arabtec's industrial, infrastructure and mechanical, and electrical and plumbing business lines remained profitable last year.