Dubai’s Drake & Scull removes CEO, narrows loss

Wael Allan out after less than a year as chief executive of the contractor

Wael Allan

The Dubai-listed contractor Drake & Scull International (DSI) has removed Wael Allan as CEO after less than a year in the post, as the company reported a lower Q2 loss, according to a statement to the market.

The group’s board resolved to terminate the services of Allan and approved the resignations of several board members including executive vice chairman Khaldoun Al Tabari, the company said.

“It’s been a good journey. I came on board at a difficult time, and I’m leaving the company in a good position. We managed to stabilise the company when it was in crisis and it’s a good point to handover,” Allan told Big Project ME when contacted by phone on Monday.

Having taken the reins as CEO in October 2016, Allan’s mandate was to oversee the restructuring and reshaping of DSI. To that end, he brought in a fresh management team to manage the transition and consolidate the company’s presence in its key markets of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE.

Furthermore, he also prioritised a return to DSI’s roots in MEP, stating in an interview with Big Project ME in March 2017 that the contractor needed to refocus on its core competencies and return to the top end of the market.

“If you ask me, can we be number one in Dubai’s MEP market? Of course we can. Can we do the same in Abu Dhabi? The answer is yes. Can we become number one in Saudi Arabia? We’re certainly in the top three and we can get there. The same applies to Qatar,” he said at the time.

Amongst his other achievements during his time in charge was bringing in Tabarak Investment to inject new capital into the business, in the wake of a proposed share capital reduction that will see three-quarters of the company’s share base cancelled, with a view towards extinguishing $462.8 million in historic losses.

DSI said Tabarak Investment had reaffirmed its commitment to the company, confirming it had acquired a majority stake from a former CEO and extended an interest-free loan of up to AED 100 million.

DSI said its net losses for Q2 2017 reduced by 12% to AED 199 million, compared to AED 226 million during the same period last year.

Revenues for the quarter stood at AED 660 million compared to AED 806 million recorded for the same period last year, it said.

DSI said its capital restructuring program is “steaming ahead on schedule and is set to be concluded by the end of Q3 2017.”

“The results of the quarter should be viewed within the context of our turnaround plan and the capital restructuring program and are consistent with our financial targets set out at the outset of the fiscal year,” said Feras Kalthoum, Acting CFO at DSI.

“Our efforts to complete the Capital and Debt Restructuring of the Group coupled with continued balancing of our portfolio to mitigate any contingent exposure that may impact our future profitability will soon reflect positively on our financial performance and top line targets.”

Mohammed Atatreh, Board Member at DSI, added: “The year 2017 will continue to be a transitional year for DSI as we proceed with the execution of our turnaround plan. Our efforts to streamline our operations and restore our financial position will enable us to set solid foundation for sustainable growth.”

“The continued support of Tabarak Investment has enabled us to maintain good progress year to date, keeping us on track to set up the Group for growth in 2018 and beyond. We look forward to shifting our focus on aggressively delivering and growing our order pipeline and invigorating our industry leadership.”

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