Al Habtoor Leighton Group sets its sights on key regional rail projects with new venture



Al Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG) has joined forces with leading Australian rail contractor John Holland to create Advance Rail Group, a new entity to pursue an expected $75bn in future rail jobs within the GCC region.

Based in Abu Dhabi, Advance Rail Group (ARG) is set to become the region’s most formidable rail contractor, combining the local knowledge of HLG with the technical expertise of John Holland, an Australian-based specialist international rail contractor with more than 40 years’ experience. John Holland is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leighton Holdings, HLG’s largest shareholder.

HLG CEO and Managing Director Laurie Voyer welcomed today’s launch of ARG and said the company was uniquely placed to pursue rail opportunities in this region.

Voyer said, “Rail is one of HLG’s key market sectors. The strength of both HLG and John Holland puts us in an excellent position to take advantage of the increased opportunities in this growing sector.”

“This exciting new venture will put us at the forefront of rail design, construction, maintenance and operations in the region,” added Voyer.

There are a number of future rail opportunities in the region with metro lines expected to be installed in Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Light rail lines, including tram systems and regional track networks are also planned by governments across the GCC.

“Our initial focus will be in regional rail in Abu Dhabi and metro systems in Doha,” Mr Voyer said.

“The establishment of this new rail business aligns with HLG’s business strategy to secure more civil infrastructure in this region,” he added.

John Holland’s Group Managing Director, Glenn Palin, said the launch of ARG represents an important new overseas venture for the business.

“John Holland has proven experience delivering and maintaining rail infrastructure in remote and rural areas of Australia, so we are well equipped with the right people and plant to manage the challenging landscape of the Middle East,” he said.

“The establishment of ARG reflects our ongoing strategy of using our specialist skills to build new partnerships with established construction businesses in offshore markets. The rail market in the Gulf region is expected to be worth $75bn by 2020 and I am confident we can position ARG to secure a good percentage of this work,” added Voyer.

ARG is equipped to deliver high quality rail design and infrastructure, including track construction, specialist tunneling, rail maintenance, overhead line wiring and signaling.

It offers full service delivery for all its client needs, from complex metro systems to strategic rail projects, including key freight and resource-based solutions.