Masdar to layoff one-tenth of its workforce

Masdar will shave off nearly one-tenth of its workforce, as its budget comes under ever-heavier scrutiny by Abu Dhabi officials.

The layoffs, first reported by local media in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), come six months after it first emerged that the Abu Dhabi government had placed Masdar under review as part of a wide-ranging look at the investment and fund-raising strategies of state-owned companies.

Masdar did not reveal how many workers will be affected, or which divisions they are employed at, only that 9% of its total workforce will be let go.

“As an agile and forward-leaning organisation working in a fast-moving sector, Masdar, as part of its annual business planning process, has identified ways to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation,” the company says.

“Our long-term strategic vision, mission and core objectives remain unchanged.”

In addition to Masdar City, Masdar encompasses four other divisions - Power, an independent power producer with investments ranging from the London Array offshore wind farm to the Shams 1 solar-thermal project; Carbon, which focuses on energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage; Capital, which invests in promising low-carbon companies (such as Masdar PV); and Institute, a graduate-level university whose students are the first inhabitants at Masdar City.

The layoffs mirror a wave of redundancies at several high-profile UAE companies in recent weeks. Parts of the UAE have been hard hit by the downturn in the real-estate economy, a reality that has made it harder to attract permanent tenants to the flagship Masdar City project on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

Last month Masdar City director Ahmed Baghoum confirmed to Recharge that the project will be built “on demand”, as and when companies and organisations commit to setting up shop.

Once touted as having a $22bn price tag, Masdar City saw more than a quarter of its budget lopped off last year, and is now expected to cost $16bn. In addition to other concessions, Masdar City will no longer source 100% of its electricity from on site renewables installations, but rather will be fed by utility-scale projects further afield.

Masdar City was integral to Abu Dhabi’s successful bid to host the International Renewable Energy Agency, and is the central thrust of Abu Dhabi's push to diversify its economy away from fossil fuels.

Source: Recharge News