Dubai-based contractor Drake & Scull said on Monday it was in talks to acquire contracting companies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar as it seeks to expand outside of its home market to weather a real estate downturn.
Drake & Scull, which specialises in mechanical, engineering and plumbing (MEP) businesses, also plans to list its shares in Dubai before the end of March, said Saleh Muradweij, an executive director at the firm.
Drake, which raised about $332 million in an initial public offering in Dubai in July, was looking at three to five potential acquisitions, he said.
"Saudi Arabia is definitely a place where growth is going to be sustained for the next two to three years," Muradweij said on the sidelines of a construction conference organised by London-based MEED.
"We have obtained board approval to look at Gulf companies mainly in Saudi Arabia and Qatar that compliment our two business streams, MEP and civils."
"Drake & Scull International has a big order book on the table to sustain growth in 2009 and 2010," he said.
Drake was finalising two contracts in the UAE within the next three to four weeks worth Dh1 billion, taking Drake's total order book in the UAE to Dh6.2 billion, Muradweij said.
An order book refers to the value of orders received but not yet carried out.