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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Habtoor Leighton, Faisal Holding escalate City Center expansion dispute

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Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG), a UAE-based contractor, has launched dozens of lawsuits against Qatari company Al Faisal Holding, owned by prominent businessman Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, over payment on delayed construction projects.

The dispute revolves around City Center Mall’s third phase of expansion, namely constructing three towers on its eastern side to house new Shangri-La, Rotana and Merweb hotels.

Habtoor Leighton is seeking $272 million in compensation from Al Faisal Holding, the mall’s developer, for late payments, according to a Reuters report. The contractor’s partial owner, Khalaf Al Habtoor, also told Arabian Business that 73 cases have been filed against Al Faisal Holding, including in Qatar, the UK, and the US.

Futhermore, HLG claims the suits follow a move from Al Faisal Holding, the project’s developer, to cash in $100m worth of performance bonds from the project.

Al Faisal Holdings did not comment on the bonds, but issued a statement saying “inaccuracies” were being circulated on the case. It says HLG was supposed to have completed the project six years ago, adding that its liquidated damages are now at $410 million, and continue to accrue. 

Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman of Al Faisal Holding, said in the statement:

“Unfortunately, it appears that constant changes in Al Habtoor’s management have led to the mismanagement of these contracts, and the responsibility for the severe delays should be addressed internally by the management team of Al Habtoor.”

Although HLG says the project is almost complete, it remains unclear when it will actually be finished as their cases go before the courts.

Credit: Photo by Lawrence Wang

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