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Laing O’Rourke to close Mideast division

By Shane McGinley  www.arabianbusiness.com

British construction firm Laing O’Rourke, which worked on the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai, is to shut its Middle East operations, it was reported at the weekend.

A source within Laing O’Rourke told the Building.co.uk trade website that Laing O’Rourke was cutting its global workforce from 35,753 to around 20,000.

The firm is the UK’s third largest contractor and began its operations in the Middle East in 2006.

“It’s been a nightmare for my family and hundreds of former colleagues who are out of work. The firm can’t employ more than 4,500 workers and 900 professional staff in the Middle East now, which is down from about 16,000 and 5,000 during the boom – a fall of about three-quarters,” the source told the website.

The closure also affects the firm’s south Asian operations and follows the end of a joint venture in India with Indian firm DLF.

Last year, Aldar Laing O’Rourke, a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi property developer and the UK construction company, told Arabian Business it was cutting 320 jobs.

However, it was confirmed that Laing O’Rourke will maintain its relationship with Aldar, with whom it is working on the AED54bn ($14.7bn) Al Raha beach project.

The firm’s turnover in the region in 2009 doubled to £829m ($225m), the report added.

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