Drake & Scull replaces finance chief after just eight months in management shake-up

Lossmaking Dubai-based contractor brings in former Hyder regional chairman Wael Allan into newly-created chief operating officer role as it looks to fiscal consolidation.

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Drake & Scull International (DSI) has replaced its chief financial officer after just eight months in the role, and brought in the former head of Arcadis’s Middle East operations to the new post of chief operating officer.

The Dubai-based contractor said that Kailash Sadangi has been appointed as chief financial officer, replacing Sam Deeb, whose appointment in the same role was only announced in October last year.

He had joined following a spell at Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group, where he had been suspended from his post since April 2015, pending a disciplinary hearing according to a statement that was issued by the firm at the time.

His successor, Mr Sadangi, had previously worked at listed Saudi Arabian contracting company Al Khodari & Sons for four years, and before that had been the regional finance chief for construction crane company Terex.

Wael Allan, meanwhile, had been the regional chairman and global chief operating officer for construction consultancy Hyder, and following its takeover by Arcadis in October 2014 he was made Middle East CEO in February 2015 — a position he held for a year until he was replaced by Graham Reid earlier this year. The chief operating officer role he is undertaking at DSI is a newly-created position.

A spokesman declined to comment on either of the new appointments, stating only that a new management team had been put in place “in light of what has been happening in the region”.

In a statement to the Dubai Financial Market, the company said that its new management structure “is expected to enhance DSI’s efforts to continue its fiscal consolidation, operating discipline and costs rationalisation drive”.

DSI declared a net loss of Dh936 million in 2015, compared to a profit of Dh100.7m in the previous year. The loss was blamed on the fact that it had to make provisions of Dh984m in the third quarter of 2015 — a significant proportion of which was due to a contractual dispute in Saudi Arabia. Revenue was also 11 per cent lower at Dh4.2bn.

In a statement accompanying its annual report, the company’s chief executive officer Khaldoun Tabari said 2015 had been “one of DSI’s toughest years since our historic IPO [in 2008], during which we undertook certain exceptional methods to ensure feasible business continuity”.

He added that it would concentrate on higher-margin business in MEP, oil & gas, rail and water treatment in 2016.

Notes to the accounts showed that it has put assets with a book value of Dh450m up for sale, including its share in a joint venture project that was aimed at diversification, its share in a project in Saudi Arabia and a development property. The company said that it expects to complete the sale of these by the end of June.


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