Korean builders win record orders from Saudi Arabia

Updated May  27, 2011

Korean builders are enjoying a construction boom in Saudi Arabia as the oil-rich country is trying to spend big in a bid to prevent a pro-democracy movement, a trade association said Thursday.

Local builders have won a combined $9.03 billion worth of construction deals from Saudi Arabia so far this year, compared with $1.58 billion worth of orders won during the same period last year, according to the International Contractors Association of Korea (ICAK).

The figure accounts for 48 percent of total overseas orders that South Korean builders won during the cited period, according to the association.

In March, Samsung Engineering Co., South Korea's largest industrial plant builder, signed a $2.76 billion deal to build a gas facility in eastern Saudi Arabia.

In April, SK Engineering & Construction Co. also won a $1.9 billion deal to build a chemical plant in the Middle Eastern country. Hanwha Engineering & Construction Corp., another South Korean builder, also signed a $1.05 billion deal to build a power station and desalination plant in western Saudi Arabia.

The association said Saudi Arabia, which has plenty of cash on hand, is launching large-scale construction projects to create jobs, thus preventing the spread of the so-called Jasmine Revolution into the country.

"Nations in the Middle East and Africa are expected to further increase spending down the road in order to offer more jobs as high unemployment rates are cited as one of the reasons for pro-democracy movements there," said an official at the ICAK.
"We expect local firms to win more construction orders from the Middle Eastern countries," the official said. (Yonhap)

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