Masdar cuts 9% of workforce, keeps goals
Staff numbers trimmed but long-term vision the same
Masdar, Abu Dhabi's state-owned renewable energy company, has trimmed its staff numbers by nine percent as it seeks to create a leaner organisation, the company said Tuesday.
The redundancies followed a company-wide review of the $22bn venture, amid wider spending reductions in Abu Dhabi prompted by the global financial crisis.
“Masdar… has identified ways to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. Through this exercise, staffing levels have fallen by nine percent,” the company said in an emailed statement to Arabian Business.
The company’s long-term vision and goals remained unchanged, the statement said.
Masdar, the cornerstone of the UAE capital’s ambitious clean energy plans, said in October it had scrapped plans for Masdar City to be carbon-neutral from its launch and had pushed back the city’s first phase by two years to 2015.
The company said in 2010 it had shaved $3.3bn off the cost of building the clean-energy city, as construction costs plummeted following the sharp correction of the UAE’s property market.
Masdar in June said it had made a round of job cuts to eliminate an overlap of roles.
The news follows an emirate-wide slowdown of large infrastructure projects, as Abu Dhabi scales back its projects in line with current economic realities.
At least nine Abu Dhabi-controlled companies have seen top managers exit this year, including investment vehicle Mubadala and developer Aldar as the government seeks to rein in costs.
TDIC, Abu Dhabi’s tourism arm, said on Oct 29 that it would delay the completion of the Zayed National Museum and branches of the Louvre and Guggenhem due to the “magnitude of work”.
“It is a prudent strategy by Abu Dhabi,” said David Butter, regional director for Middle East and North Africa at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “
“Masdar indicated a year ago it had stretched out its main targets. There has always been a tendency of Abu Dhabi to be more cautious on its high-profile spending.”
The oil-rich emirate is exposed to the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the slowdown in the US economy through its holdings, and may also be reining in spending in preparation for a tough 2012, he said.
“Clearly, on some high level, steps are being taken to reappraise everything across the board. Abu Dhabi is of course a long way away from being in trouble, but it may be looking ahead.”