The recent staff cuts could be business as usual or a nascent sign of troubled times for the $27 billion worth of projects in production on Saadiyat Island.
Tourism Development & Investment Co., the state-owned developer building branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi, fired employees from several departments to reduce costs, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Job cuts were made in departments including project management and marketing, said the people, who asked not to be identified citing company policy. The people said they didn’t know the number of employees dismissed.
“TDIC constantly evaluates its manpower requirements to ensure that its projects continue to be delivered on schedule and to the highest quality,” the company said in an e-mailed response to questions. TDIC had 500 employees at the end of 2011, according to its most recently published annual report.
TDIC is building local branches of the Paris and New York museums on Saadiyat Island, which is being developed as part of the United Arab Emirates’ push to diversify its economy away from oil revenue. The $27 billion worth of projects on the island include the Zayed National Museum and a New York University campus. TDIC company is also building homes and offices there.
Property values in Abu Dhabi fell by half as speculative demand waned after the global financial crisis in 2008. Prices and rents in the U.A.E. capital are continuing to drop as developments that started before the crash are completed.
TDIC developer cut jobs to lower its expenses by 28 percent in 2011, The National newspaper reported in 2011, citing a bond prospectus.
Editors: Jeffrey St.Onge and Ross Larsen.
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Photo credit: An exhibition of the Abu Dhabi Louvre project on Saadiyat Island. Luca De Santis / Flickr