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Thursday, July 9, 2009

UEM Group mulls jobs in Vietnam, Cambodia

UEM Group Bhd has been offered huge projects in Vietnam and is also mulling whether to accept a contract to build a bridge in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The projects in Vietnam are worth a "few billion US dollars", chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur recently.

They are in Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, and work includes building an airport and a port.

"It's so big that we may have to rope in other Malaysian contractors," Tajuddin said.

The bridge project in Cambodia is worth about US$100 million (RM356 million) and UEM is in the final stages of evaluating the job.

Vietnam has been a favourite destination for Malaysian builders, with companies like SP Setia Bhd and Gamuda Bhd already having a presence as they seek to grow profits amid a slowing home market.

UEM Group has ventured abroad through its construction arm UEM Builders Bhd, mainly to countries like India and Qatar.

Tajuddin also said that UEM was confident of defending itself against a legal suit from the Qatar Public Works Organisation.

"We have received from the Qatari authorities the certificate of completion for the entire Salwa Road project. We have also got the extension of time for the job to January 31 2009," he said.

Because of this, UEM Group will not make provisions for the suit. At the same time, it also has a RM1 billion claim for work already done for the same project.

It is understood that the Qatar Public Works Organisation is seeking damages, reportedly about 878.3 million Qatari riyal (RM880 million), against design consulting engineer Parsons International Ltd, UEM and Qatar Insurance Co over work on the Salwa International Road.

UEM has been named as the second defendant in the suit, Tajuddin said.

By Business Times (by Mustapha Kamil and Shahriman Johari)

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