Arabtec to use $272 mln reserves to wipe out losses
An Arabtec logo is seen on buildings under construction in the Marina area of Dubai in this picture taken November 28, 2009. Arabtec, the largest construction firm in the Middle East, is likely to suffer on doubts about contract payments from Nakheel when UAE markets reopen on Monday in the first post-holiday trading after Dubai shocked global markets last week by seeking a debt standstill for two flagship firms - REUTERS/Steve Crisp (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES BUSINESS)
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ABU DHABI:  A meeting of shareholders in Dubai-listed construction firm Arabtec Holding approved on Wednesday a plan to use 1 billion dirhams ($272 million) of the company’s statutory reserves to wipe out some of its accumulated losses.

The company has been struggling with a difficult industry environment as Gulf economies slow and governments restrain spending because of low oil prices. The 1 billion dirhams will cover 44 percent of the company’s accumulated losses, leaving a reserves balance of 148 million dirhams, officials said.

Arabtec has hired restructuring advisory firm AlixPartners to help it strengthen its capital structure and reform its business. Vice chairman Mohamed al-Mehairi said the work of advisors in drawing up a restructuring plan was “going very well and should be completed very soon”.

In 2014, Arabtec agreed in principle to build 1 million homes for middle-income Egyptians by 2020 in a $35 billion project, but the company and the Egyptian government have not agreed on specifics since then, and Egyptian officials have said talks are now focusing on much smaller numbers of housing units.

Saeed al-Mehairbi, acting group chief executive of Arabtec, said of the Egyptian project on Wednesday: “We put conditions that suit us as contractors and they haven’t got back to us yet.”

Arabtec shareholders also approved the appointment of two new members to an expanded seven-person board: Tariq al-Masood and Ghannam al-Mazrouei.

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