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Gamuda expects construction division to pick up steam

AFTER two years of falling net profit, Gamuda Bhd expects to turn in a much better figure this year as its construction division picks up steam.
"The whole of 2007 will be slightly better than 2006," group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling told reporters after the group's annual general meeting yesterday.

The group made a net profit of RM168.5 million for the year ended July 31 2006 and RM265.8 million the year before.

"Construction earnings are slightly better, that's the major difference (this year). Our overseas orders are picking up," he added.

Gamuda, which also does property development and has water and highway concessions, has an overall order book of RM5 billion currently.

The group is in the midst of bidding for close to RM4 billion worth of projects in the Middle East, Lin said.

The group believes that it is in a good position to secure more new projects given that it has invested over RM500 million in plants and machinery in the Middle East over the last two years.

"So companies like us can be quite picky in projects," Lin remarked.

Gamuda has about RM3 billion worth of projects in the Middle East. This includes the Dukhan Highway, which is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2007, and the new Doha International Airport, which will be finished by the year-end.

Gamuda is also working on the RM640 million Sitra Cosway Bridges in Bahrain.

Meanwhile, Lin said funding for its US$700 million (RM2.45 billion) Nam Theun 1 hydro-power project in Laos is expected to be finalised this year.

On another note, Gamuda's SMART Tunnel project in Kuala Lumpur, which is the world's first dual-use tunnel, will be completed by June this year, he said.

The motorway tunnel, however, is expected to be open to motorists earlier, probably in late March. - By Adeline Paul Raj



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