Arabtec Triples Q1 Profit

The construction firm made a net profit of Dhs84.1 million during the first quarter of the year.

Arabtec Holding, the UAE’s largest construction firm by market value, more than tripled its first-quarter net profits, exceeding analysts’ forecasts, and said on Wednesday it was considering buying out its steel subsidiary.

The company, in which Abu Dhabi state-owned fund Aabar has a 10.5 per cent stake, made a net profit of Dhs84.1 million ($22.90 million) in the quarter, compared with Dhs26.6 million in the corresponding period last year.

Revenue for the quarter rose slightly to Dhs1.3 billion from Dhs1.2 billion in the previous year, Arabtec said in a bourse statement on Wednesday.

Arabtec’s quarterly profit easily beat estimates of four analysts polled by Reuters, who on average expected it to earn Dhs40 million in the quarter.

The company also said it was considering buying out the remaining 45-per cent stake held by three separate partners in its subsidiary, Gulf Steel Industries (GSI).

“The board provisionally authorised the CEO of the company, Riad Kamal, to negotiate the best possible price for acquiring a further 45 per cent in GSI so long as it did not exceed the valuation originally obtained on the said subsidiary,” Arabtec said in a separate statement.

It also named Aabar’s Khadem Al Qubaisi as chairman of the board. Qubaisi is also the chairman of Aabar.

Arabtec nominated four executives from Aabar to its board in April, a sign of the state fund’s growing influence in the company after it doubled its stake to over ten per cent.

The company has also won a $60 million contract from Aabar after the stake hike.

Arabtec, along with a consortium of Turkey’s TAV Insaat and Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), were also identified as the preferred bidders for an estimated $3 billion contract to expand Abu Dhabi’s international airport.

Shares in Arabtec have more than doubled on the Dubai bourse so far in 2012 on the back of new contract wins and expectations of further stake increases by Aabar.