Overseas construction orders pick up in March

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Overseas construction orders pick up in March

Overseas construction orders won by Korean companies rose 6 percent in March from a year earlier, helped by large building contracts secured in the Middle East and South Asia, data showed yesterday.

The data by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs showed local builders signed deals totaling $5.5 billion last month, compared with $5.2 billion a year earlier.

Last month’s gain comes after orders dropped sharply in January and February of this year, which raised alarm bells in the construction industry as a whole.

March’s total represents a 4.6-fold gain from February when construction companies won just $1.2 billion in overseas deals. The number for January stood at $1.5 billion.

The ministry attributed last month’s strong showing to large projects won by Hyundai Engineering and Construction, Samsung Engineering and Doosan Heavy Industry and Construction.

Hyundai won the $1.5 billion Maaden alumina refinery contract, while Samsung secured a $1 billion oil field development project in Iraq. Doosan contributed by sealing an $800 million thermal power plant building contract in India.

The latest data showed that half of all building orders secured in March were from countries in the Middle East, with 33 percent and 11 percent being secured in Asia and Latin America, respectively.

Of the building contracts signed, 71 percent or $5.8 billion worth were industrial plant construction.

The ministry said local builders predicted the first-half contract number would hit $27.0 billion, up from $25.3 billion in the January-June period of 2011. For the whole year, local builders expect overseas orders to hit $70 billion from $59.1 billion last year, it added. Yonhap

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