Al Futtaim Carillion: A Continuing History

February 12, 2018 in Infrastructure

Al-Futtaim Carillion (AFC) have a long and successful history working within the UAE and Middle East. The company can be traced back to the region’s early days of growth and development. They run a joint venture between the UAE’s Al Futtaim Group and the UK contractor Carillion.


The history of AFC is impressive. The company commenced activities in the UAE in the mid 1950’s under the name of George Wimpey & Co. Ltd. It then became the Al-Futtaim Wimpey LLC in the 1970’s. In 1994, the company became Al-Futtaim Tarmac after the Wimpey/Tarmac asset swap, and, lastly, it evolved into Al-Futtaim Carillion LLC after the Tarmac de-merger in 1999.


From then until now, Al-Futtaim Carillion has created a compelling portfolio of work which includes significant infrastructure, civil projects and building projects. The nature of the projects has varied greatly, with a wide scope of retail, residential, hotel, commercial buildings, roads, aluminium smelters and oil and gas industry work. AFC said the scope of work will continue to expand across the Middle East, North Africa and beyond, providing ‘wonderful future leadership and project opportunities for successful applicants.’


It is not just the scope of work that is commendable. In December 2017, AFC achieved an impressive award for their incredible labour welfare practices. More than 1000,000 workers from over 200 companies were included for judgement, and the final awards were presented as part of the second edition of the Taqdeer Award Programme at a special ceremony held at the World Trade Centre.

The Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, handed the companies in the three star, four star and five star categories the trophies. Al Futtaim Carillion were one of the companies that managed to achieve a five star rating, alongside Global Green Bridge Contracting and Majid Al Futtaim Hypermarkets: Carrefour.


Starting the new year on the high of this award, AFC certainly have some exciting developments just around the corner: they can continue their Dh2.2bn contract to build the ‘Theme Districts’ for the Dubai Expo 2020 event.


The contract, which is one of the main packages awarded at the site, is to construct the Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability districts. These districts will house the UAE’s three main pavilions, but they will also accommodate a total of about 136 pavilions that will be used by participating countries, non-governmental organisations and commercial partners.

There will be ample public spaces in the Theme Districts which will host innovative shades and climate control solutions: combined with the passive design of the buildings, it will be a comfortable and enjoyable visitor experience.

The total area of the districts, and all of the buildings within them, will have a floor area of 220,000 square ­metres: a sizeable feat.

Managing director of AFC, Edmund Mahabir, is optimistic about the grand contract for the Expo. He said:

“Al Futtaim Carillion has been operating as a Dubai-based joint venture since 1972….We are very proud to be able to play a role in the construction of the site for Expo 2020 Dubai, a venue that will play an important role in the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the UAE.”

Beating 35 other pre-qualified competitors, the company won the competitive tender for the Expo work. Ahmed Al Khatib, the Vice President for Real Estate at Expo 2020, said the award of the Theme Districts contract was an exciting step forwards for Expo 2020:

“With the Theme Districts construction award, we are starting the main phase of buildings and construction.”

“All excavation works for the Theme District basements have been completed and are ready for the appointed contractor to begin construction.”

“It’s a big moment in the life of this event. The Theme Districts will be a major part of the site, explored and enjoyed by many thousands of people daily during the six months of Expo 2020 Dubai”.

AFC’s work with the Expo 2020 Dubai shows some great promise in the construction industry. However, in a conference call to investors, Chief Director of Carillion, Mr Richard Howson, said that “Dubai is the one bright spot in the Gulf”, after a “slow” year for contacting. Nevertheless, according to BMI Research forecast, “preparations for the World Expo 2020 in Dubai will act as a catalyst for growth in the emirate’s construction industry, with new projects set for approval and construction at ongoing or stalled projects likely to be expedited”, which comes as a relief to Mr Howson.  



Fortunately, AFC have more ventures to look forward to: the Dubai World Trade Centre has also awarded AFC the contract to deliver Phase 1A6 of ONE CENTRAL, a major integrated real estate development located between the current Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre and Emirates Towers in the heart of the city’s Central Business District.

This latest phase of the ONE CENTRAL development has a built-up area of 182,500 square metres. It comprises of two sizeable Grade A office buildings of 12 and 8 storeys.  The £160 million contract began in January 2017 and is scheduled for full completion at the end of 2018.  AFC has already completed an earlier Phase 1A2 of this development, which is in the process of being leased and is currently delivering the contact for Phase 1A5, which was awarded in October 2015.  This latest award takes the overall value of AFC’s contracts for the ONE CENTRAL development to £400 million.

In welcoming the award, the Chief Executive of Carillion said:

“We are delighted to have been selected for Phase 1A6, the third phase of the ONE CENTRAL development, where we continue to see good opportunities coming to market for which our capabilities and reputation for delivering to high standards of quality, safety and reliability are important to customers.  We look forward to continuing our close relationship with Dubai World Trade Centre to deliver this important development.”

According to Carillion’s own website “The ONE CENTRAL development is being designed to best-in-class quality standards and this phase will comprise international Grade A quality offices, which has achieved LEED® Gold precertification from the US Green Building Council – the industry benchmark for green building performance covering design, construction, operations and maintenance.  The technology solutions and infrastructure being planned are aligned with the Dubai Government’s Smart City strategic agenda, which was launched by Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.”

Overall, the summative statement from Andrew Ridley-Barker, managing director of Al Futtaim Carillion, speaks volumes about the work in Dubai. On speaking to ME Construction News, Mr Ridley-Baker said:

“Al Futtaim Carillion prides itself on delivering some of the most notable projects in the region. We hope to have the process concluded shortly and deliver this important retail project to the people of Abu Dhabi.”