Overdue Saudi project payment coming within months says Drake & Scull CEO

Drake & Scull International expects to resolve its ongoing dispute with Saudi Aramco over payment for its work on the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (Kapsarc) over the next 12 months, its chief executive Wael Allan has said.

The company completed work on the Zaha Hadid-designed centre in Riyadh back in 2012 but is still owed more than Dh2 billion by Aramco for work carried out on the project, according to Mr Allan.

He said that the building was “a great icon in Saudi Arabia”.

“I really strongly believe we have done a fantastic job for the client. So we have an expectation that the client will honour our claims and our request for compensation. We have filed a number of claims and the amount totals to Dh2.3bn. It’s being processed by the Aramco contracting department and we are waiting for resolution on those claims.”

Mr Allan said the company has filed five claims relating to the contract. Of these, two are due for determination “very soon”.

“And when I say soon, I mean a matter of months rather than years – under six months or so,” said Mr Allan. The three remaining claims include a more substantial one that could take “a year or so” to sort out.

Drake & Scull last week filed audited accounts showing a Dh732.9m loss for 2016 and a negative cash balance of Dh305m.

Mr Allan said that the company was not reliant on payment from Saudi Aramco for its turnaround, stating that Dh900m was due in through its proposed capital restructuring and the sale of its One Palm Jumeirah stake.

“Kapsarc coming in, other claims coming in, will only enhance our ability to thrive and grow. So we are not really relying on that, although resolving the Kapsarc issue will be transformational for the business,” he said.

mfahy@thenational.ae

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