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Abu Dhabi Cancels Concrete Works Tender of Guggenheim Museum

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Tourism Development & Investment Co. of Abu Dhabi canceled the concrete works tender for the planned Guggenheim museum in the United Arab Emirates capital as it reviews the project procurement strategy.

The tender, which is part of several contracts that make up the project, will be re-tendered at a future date, according to a statement received by e-mail today. Building foundation piles have been installed and the design is due for completion in early 2012, it said.

The Abu Dhabi Guggenheim, designed by Frank Gehry, was due to open in 2013 on Saadiyat Island, or Island of Happiness. The island, part of the emirate’s push to diversify its economy away from oil revenue, plans to house $27 billion worth of developments including a branch of the Louvre Museum, the Zayed National Museum, and a New York University campus. Tourism Development declined to comment whether the completion of Guggenheim will be delayed.

Tourism Development, a developer of hotels and museums in Abu Dhabi, cut its 2011 budget by 28 percent to 13.4 billion dirhams ($3.7 billion) as it delayed some projects, according to a bond prospectus in July. It had a loss of 1.2 billion dirhams last year after a loss of 551 million dirhams in 2009, according to its financial statements. The company delayed selling bonds under a $3 billion program in July.

Other Abu Dhabi government ventures have also been delayed as the sheikhdom scales back the ambitious plans it made before the 2008 financial crisis. Masdar, a $22 billion state-owned renewable energy company, said in October it was scaling back the zero-carbon ambition for its purpose-built city. It delayed the city’s first phase by two years to 2015.

Abu Dhabi holds most of the U.A.E.’s oil and gas reserves.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tamara Walid in Abu Dhabi at twalid@bloomberg.net; Ayesha Daya in Dubai at adaya1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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