M&R cuts 28% of ME staff as Qatar orders stall

Murray & Roberts Holdings, the South African contractor that built Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab, has cut more than a quarter of its workforce in the Middle East on slower- than-expected tenders in Qatar, reports Bloomberg.

The contractor dismissed about 28% of its employees in the region “to resize ourselves to market conditions,” according to HR director Johan Fourie. About 200 employees remain, he added.

Fourie explained that contracts for work in Qatar related to the 2022 FIFA Football World Cup “have not been tendered as expected”.

He said: “The company is actively pursuing tender opportunities within the Middle East, and we are confident about the industry’s future in the region.”

Murray & Roberts and JV partner Al Habtoor Leighton Group built the Sorbonne University campus in Abu Dhabi and the St. Regis Hotel and Residences on Saadiyat Island. The contractor also worked on the $817m Zayed University campus in Abu Dhabi.

Murray & Roberts constructed some of the stadia for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and was part of the group that built Africa’s first rapid rail in Johannesburg ahead of the tournament.