UAE contractor confirms second high level executive departure in 2019
Arabtec Holding, the UAE-based contractor for social and ecnomic infrastructure, has announced that Boyd Merrett, chief executive officer of Arabtec Construction, a wholly owned subsidiary of the group, has resigned.
According to a statement from the group, released on their website, Wail Farsakh, group chief operating officer, will assume the responsibilities of chief executive officer for Arabtec Construction until further notice.
With more than 33 years of experience in the UAE, Farsakh began his career as a structural engineer and progressed to general manager of Dutco Balfour Beatty (currently known as DBB Contracting). In this time, he has delivered civil, marine, roads, retail, residential and hospitality projects.
Merrett began his tenure as CEO of Arabtec Construction in July 2017. He joined Arabtec Construction from CIMIC Group, where he was the General Manager for Leighton Asia in Hong Kong, responsible for winning and delivering major building, MEP and infrastructure projects worth over $7 billion. He has more than 25 years of experience in international construction, spanning the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa.
Merrett’s departure continues high-level changes within the Arabtec group.
Hamish Tyrwhitt stepped down as Arabtec Holding CEO in May 2019 with the role passing on to its group chief financial officer Peter Pollard.
The group subsequently announced last month that Adel Al Wahedi had been appointed as its new acting group chief financial officer, following a stint at Abu Dhabi Ports Company.
In 2019, Arabtec has said that it will continue to focus on the collection of legacy receivables, shortening payment cycles, improving working capital and strengthening the balance sheet. This includes debt refinancing to provide a sustainable platform for the company’s future growth as a leading regional contractor, the company said in a statement at the time.
In August, the building giant reported that in H1 2019, total revenue declined by 12.4% and net profit to parent declined by 48.8% compared to the same period in 2018. Despite the decline in new awards during the first half of 2019, the group’s backlog remained strong at $3.81 billion.
In line with the Group’s strategic priority to strengthen the balance sheet, total debt was reduced by $101.5 million in H1 2019 and net debt to equity ratios improved to 0.56x compared to 1.24x in H1 2018, the company added.