Dubai’s Arabtec Moves Staff to Abu Dhabi After Aabar Stake Grows

Arabtec Holding Co., Dubai’s largest construction company, has moved employees to neighboring Abu Dhabi after a firm backed by the United Arab Emirates’ capital increased its stake and took seats on the board last year.

“A number of staff,” have been transferred to Abu Dhabi to accommodate the company’s increasing projects there, spokesman Bassam N. Dean said by phone yesterday without specifying the number of employees or the departments being moved. The company’s headquarters remains in Dubai, he said.

Aabar Investments PJSC, backed by one of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds, last year raised its stake in Arabtec to 21.6 percent. The company has won large projects in Abu Dhabi in the past year, including construction of a branch of the Louvre museum and the Midfield terminal at Abu Dhabi airport. Aabar, which dropped a $1.74 billion takeover offer for Arabtec almost three years ago, was delisted from Abu Dhabi’s stock exchange in 2010.

Four Aabar executives were added to Arabtec’s board in May and Aabar Chairman Khadem Al Qubaisi became chairman of the construction company. Hasan Ismaik became Arabtec’s managing director last year after he was named to the company’s board in August, according to the company’s website.

Arabtec workers were moving boxes and computer hardware from the company’s Dubai offices last week. This week, two people at Arabtec’s Dubai office directed phone calls to the company’s investor relations manager and other managers to Arabtec’s office in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Wealth

Abu Dhabi, the largest and richest of the seven sheikhdoms that make up the United Arab Emirates, came to the rescue of its smaller neighbor in 2009 as Dubai sought help to pay its debts. Abu Dhabi and the central bank provided around $20 billion loan after Dubai racked up about $113 billion in debt to transform itself into a financial and tourism hub.

Aabar, which is controlled by Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co., booked an impairment loss of $392 million in the first half of last year on its investment in Glencore International Plc. The company has stakes in Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Ltd. commercial space venture Italy’s UniCredit SpA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zainab Fattah in Dubai at zfattah@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net

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