By Hadeel Al Sayegh and Davide Barbuscia

DUBAI, Oct 7 (Reuters)Just over six years ago, Dubai-listed Arabtec Holding ARTC.DU had investors eating out of its hands.

At a lavish shareholder meeting at Abu Dhabi’s St. Regis Hotel, the contractor that helped build the world’s tallest skyscraper, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, outlined plans for listings in London, Hong Kong and New York.

Those plans never materialised. After capital injections between 2013 and 2017, management changes, layoffs and rounds of restructurings, Arabtec’s shareholders, which include Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala, decided last week that the Gulf’s largest listed contractor should file for insolvency.

Arabtec had around $2.75 billion in total liabilities at the end of June, including almost $500 million in bank borrowing.

The liquidation, likely to lead to further layoffs in a company which had a 40,000 strong workforce at the end of last year, marks the end of an era of plentiful construction for local contractors.

“A great company that is 45 years old disappeared off the face of the earth. I find it extremely sad that an iconic company like that disappeared,” Ziad Makhzoumi, chief financial officer of Arabtec from September 2008 to March 2013, told Reuters.

The coronavirus, low oil prices and production cuts have battered the Gulf economies this year, but the collapse of construction giants like Arabtec and engineering group Drake & Scull International in the United Arab Emirates has deeper roots.

Industry sources, analysts, and bankers point to an unsustainable business model used by some contracting firms in the region.

They undercut competitors on pricing and sometimes cost a project at a discount to win a tender in the hopes of making a profit through additional work when it starts running.

STATE-BACKED CLIENTS

It’s a model that works on the premise that supply

  • Ford’s new chief executive, Jim Farley, on Thursday promised the No. 2 U.S. automaker would move with urgency, in contrast to criticism his predecessor faced.
  • Farley, on his first day as Ford’s 11th CEO, also announced an executive shake-up that included naming a new chief financial officer.
  • Ford’s promise to accelerate its turnaround is not new at a time when it is executing on an $11 billion restructuring.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Ford’s new chief executive, Jim Farley, on Thursday promised the No. 2 U.S. automaker would move with urgency, in contrast to criticism his predecessor faced.

Farley, on his first day as Ford’s 11th CEO, also announced an executive shake-up that included naming a new chief financial officer.

Ford’s promise to accelerate its turnaround is not new at a time when it is executing on an $11 billion restructuring.

Farley was named chief operating officer in February and promised a faster return to stronger profits. He was officially tapped to succeed Jim Hackett in August.

“During the past three years, under Jim Hackett’s leadership, we have made meaningful progress and opened the door to becoming a vibrant, profitably growing company,” Farley said in a statement on Thursday. “Now it’s time to charge through that door.”

Ford reaffirmed its goal for operating margins of 8%, something it identified as a 2020 target before the coronavirus pandemic hit. It did not specify when it would achieve this target.

The company also said John Lawlor would succeed Tim Stone as CFO.

Stone, who will remain with Ford through Oct. 15, accepted a job as COO and CFO with ASAPP Inc, an artificial-intelligence software company.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; editing by Jason Neely)

Get the latest Ford stock price here.

Source Article

Law360 (October 1, 2020, 7:20 PM EDT) — An Alabama federal judge let Allstate off the hook in two proposed ERISA class actions claiming the insurer wrongly terminated lifetime insurance benefits for certain retirees, ruling the insurer was within its rights.

In her opinion Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Emily C. Marks granted Allstate Insurance Co. summary judgment in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act suits brought by former employees challenging the insurer’s decision to cancel retiree life insurance benefits.

Judge Marks found the governing plan documents unambiguously reserved the insurer’s ability to modify the benefits and explicitly said plan participants didn’t have vested rights. Moreover, the judge agreed with…

Stay ahead of the curve

In the legal profession, information is the key to success. You have to know what’s happening with clients, competitors, practice areas, and industries. Law360 provides the intelligence you need to remain an expert and beat the competition.

  • Access to case data within articles (numbers, filings, courts, nature of suit, and more.)
  • Access to attached documents such as briefs, petitions, complaints, decisions, motions, etc.
  • Create custom alerts for specific article and case topics and so much more!

TRY LAW360 FREE FOR SEVEN DAYS

Source Article