Overseas orders going well for construction firms

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Overseas orders going well for construction firms

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Korean construction companies are sanguine about reaching their annual target of $70 billion in overseas orders after first-quarter results were significantly higher than a year ago, according to data released by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport yesterday.

Korean builders bagged overseas orders worth $12.5 billion in the first three months of this year, up 56 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The ministry said that although the figure was under the average of $14.3 billion of the previous five years, there will be no problem achieving the 2013 goal of $70 billion.

“Currently Korean builders have entered bidding for construction projects in 64 countries, which are worth $150 billion,” the ministry said in a release. “We think this year’s goal of $70 billion will be achieved without a problem.”

According to the ministry, orders from Asian nations are driving the overall growth. The construction deals from Asia generated $7.33 billion in the January-March period, up 211.91 percent from last year.

Asia also replaced the Middle East to become the most lucrative market for Korean companies, accounting for 58.4 percent of total overseas orders.

In terms of countries, Korean companies made the most in Vietnam with $2.23 billion, followed by the United Arab Emirates ($1.8 billion) and India ($1.15 billion).

The ministry said that orders from India, Malaysia and Uzbekistan, which Korean builders ignored in the past, shows the scope of growth for the future.

By projects, plant constructions generated $9.56 billion, accounting for 76.3 percent of total overseas orders in the first three months of this year.

The ministry credits increasing demand from Middle East oil producers and Korean companies’ competitiveness in engineering, procurement, construction, or EPC, contracts.

The ministry said it will continue supporting local construction firms.

For the Middle East, it plans to send officials to promote Korean companies to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iraq in the third quarter of this year.

It is also planning to sign a memorandum of understanding with Qatar on construction cooperation next month.

The ministry is also planning to hold a forum in Central Asia in the third quarter.

By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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