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Tue May 11 2021

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UK companies secure $600m in government support for UAE contracts

6 Jul 17 International trade secretary Liam Fox has announced US$600m (£464m) in government support to help Carillion and Kier deliver major infrastructure contracts in the UAE.

Kier won a design-build contract for Dubai Arena
Kier won a design-build contract for Dubai Arena

Export credit agency UK Export Finance (UKEF) will provide the support to the two construction companies, which have won contracts in Dubai worth hundreds of millions.

The announcement comes as the government has launched a new initiative bringing it together with leading firms from the infrastructure industry in a new partnership to help UK companies secure major international contracts.

Carillion and Kier will deliver new housing, a major stadium complex and one of the UAE’s biggest office developments.

UKEF will be guaranteeing US$455m for Kier to design and build the Dubai Arena - a 17,000-seater entertainment and sports venue - and two staff accommodation buildings for Nshama. UK Export Finance has provided Meraas, the project sponsor for Dubai Arena, with US$220m in finance to support Kier’s contract. UKEF will also support the Nshama building contract with financing worth US$235m. The buildings will create accommodation for employees of Emaar Properties.

Carillion will design and build the latest phase of One Central, Dubai World Trade Centre’s new mixed-use development in Dubai’s central business district. Carillion has already delivered the first and second phases of the development, and the new contract that will see it construct two new office towers of 15 and 11 storeys thanks to UKEF support of US$180m. UKEF has already provided US$285m in finance for the first and the second phases of the project, also built by Carillion.

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Fox said: “With these flagship infrastructure projects, Kier and Carillion are helping to directly shape Dubai’s economy by boosting tourism and business infrastructure. This is yet another example of the UK’s global leadership in the infrastructure sector, and the Department for International Trade, as an international economic department, is proud to be helping these two outstanding firms succeed abroad with the backing of UK Export Finance.”

Kier International managing director said: “The Dubai Arena and Nshama residential developments are remarkable projects that will transform Dubai’s entertainment and accommodation sectors respectively. The support of UK Export Finance has been instrumental in helping us win this business as we look to build on the substantial growth we’ve seen in international demand.”

Carillion group finance director Zafar Khan added:“Our continuing involvement in the development of the Dubai Trade Centre District is evidence of our capabilities and reputation for high-quality construction. Winning high-quality contracts with the support of UK Export Finance is central to our strategy in the Middle East."

The financing on all three projects has been provided in partnership with HSBC’s Export and Specialised Finance team. Richard Hodder, global head export and specialised finance at HSBC, said: “The support required to deliver these major infrastructure contract wins reiterate the growing trend of developers in the UAE seeking export credit agency financing for complex projects. Each financing solution has a bespoke structure using innovative concepts that ensure it is aligned with the aspirations of all parties involved. HSBC will continue to support UK contractors and further develop its strong relationship with UK Export Finance in the MENA region, following several collaborative successes in the UAE.”

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