Delayed fees owed to consultants in Dubai could start to be paid again from next month, the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) said this week.
Struggling government-backed developer Nakheel asked its creditors for a six month moratorium on payments as it fought to restructure its debt in the wake of falling demand for its real estate projects (NCE 13 May 2009).
But in December, the Abu Dhabi Government stepped in with a £6.1bn ($10bn) loan that was in part used to pay back £2.5bn in debt relating to an Islamic bond (sukuk) leaving £3.6bn for payments to contractors, consultants and other creditors.
The ACE estimates that UK firms are owed £250M in fees.
“It is early days yet and we have to see how that money cascades down. Our team of members in the region is informing us of developments. It is reasonable to expect payments in the middle of the first quarter,” said ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin.
Most of the UK’s largest consultants, including Atkins, WSP, Mott MacDonald and Mouchel, are owed money by the developer.
The downturn in Dubai is so severe that in December consultant Mouchel announced it would withdraw from the emirate citing outstanding debt of £10M.