By Gill Plimmer www.ft.com
British construction companies are scrambling to win lucrative contracts in Qatar as the gulf state gears up for the 2022 Fifa World Cup with an estimated $275bn worth of spending.
With Doha planning to invest up to $149bn on infrastructure and a further $126bn on housing, bidding for contracts to build schools, hospitals, shopping centres and rail networks has already started.
Hyder Consulting, the engineer behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge, has already scored its largest project win ever – an £80m contract to design roads and drainage in the north of the capital, while Atkins has won a £65m deal to the same in the west of the city. Two more contracts for the south and east of Doha have yet to be let.
Other British companies including Balfour Beatty and Mace are also bidding for work in Qatar, one of the fastest-growing construction markets in the world.
With the US and UK markets stagnant and growth in China slowing, competition for Qatari contracts is intense with construction companies worldwide racing to secure a share of the action.
Plans for a new $20bn Doha Metro have already attracted more than 60 expressions of interest from international consortiums competing for a $7bn first phase of the contract to build tunnels, stations and other infrastructure.