S. Korean builders are top foreign players in Saudi Arabia

March 8, 2012 11:39 am 

SEOUL, March 8 — South Korean companies clinched the largest amount of orders among foreign builders operating in Saudi Arabia last year on the back of strong competitiveness, a local contractors association said on Thursday.

The International Contractors Association of Korea (ICAK) said companies such as Samsung C&T Corp. secured US$ 16.6 billion worth of orders in 2011, or 23 percent of all building contracts signed. Total building contracts in the oil-rich Middle Eastern country hit $ 72 billion.

"Excluding Saudi builders that grabbed 53 percent of the total, South Korean companies far outpaced foreign rivals thanks mainly to their competitive edge in the industrial plant construction sector," the association said.

Last year's order size in industrial plant building jumped 59 percent to $ 14.6 billion from $ 9.2 billion tallied for the whole of 2010.

ICAK said the strong showing by South Korean companies could lead to more orders down the road.

"Skyrocketing crude oil prices are spurring various industrial and infrastructure construction orders in the country," it said.

Riyadh is expected to place orders for two large electric power generation and two petrochemical plants in the coming months and will launch a large-scale housing development work. The plan calls for the building of 500,000 homes, with South Korean companies expected to sign a memorandum of understanding within the month for a pilot project to build 10,000 housing units.

The MEED journal, which provides business intelligence and analysis of developments in the Middle East and North Africa, said Saudi Arabia's state-run oil and power companies plan to spend $ 225 billion in the coming year to expand capacity.(PNA/Yonhap)



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