Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG), the 45%-owned Middle East subsidiary of contractor Leighton, has reached a financial settlement over a contract dispute in Qatar.

HLG began legal action last year over money owed by a client in Doha for a construction project – reported to be the US$ 325 million Doha City Centre Expansion project, which involves the construction of five hotel towers.

The contractor said the Qatari client had agreed to repay 40% of the funds it owed HLG, with the full balance to be repaid over 18 months following the handover of the project to the client.

In a statement, HLG said the agreement “significantly reduces the risk exposure of HLG to Leighton”.

Leighton is readying HLG for an initial public offering (IPO), and said in its 2013 annual results that it aimed to launch this in 2016. However, it said the sale was dependent on further recovery of outstanding payments and the on-going award of new work.

In May 2012, Leighton separated HLG into two parts – a legacy business which is dealing with outstanding money owed to the company from a number of projects, and an on-going business, which is being prepared for the IPO.

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