Austrian engineering firm announces insolvency following 'delayed payments' for Louvre Abu Dhabi

Austrian engineering firm announces insolvency following 'delayed payments' for Louvre Abu Dhabi
An Austrian engineering firm has announced that it is filing for insolvency amid reports that delays in payments from the Abu Dhabi Louvre were key to its problems.
2 min read
25 November, 2018
The Abu Dhabi Louvre's dome reportedly cost over €80m [AFP]

An Austrian steel engineering company famed for building the dome of the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi has announced its insolvency, which the firm puts down to losses accrued during the construction of the landmark UAE venture.

Delays in payments and spiralling costs of the Louvre project were at the centre of the Waagner-Biro's financial woes, according to reports in the Austrian media.

Last month, the engineering firm had announced the insolvency of its subsidiary SBE Alpha AG. In a short press release, the firm said that "the remainder of the group is in danger of insolvency". 

Waagner-Biro created the dome of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which stretches across the size of five football pitches. The dome's intricate design gives the effect of an oriental bazaar.

According to the firm's website, the order value was almost €80 million, with the initial estimated costs spiralling. According to Austrian newspaper Die Presse, however, Waagner-Biro was forced top shoulder costs increasing costs after the museum refused to cough up the total amount.

"We learned a lot with the Louvre, and we wouldn't do it again today," Thomas Jost, the former chief executive of Waagner-Biro, told Die Presse in 2017.

In over 160 years of operations, Waagner-Biro has completed several high-profile projects, including for the Sydney Opera House, the State Opera House in Berlin, building the dome of the Reichstag in Berlin and the roof of the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court at the British Museum in London.

The New Arab contacted Waagner-Biro for clarification on the reports but are yet to receive a response.