Overseas construction business was buoyant

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Overseas construction business was buoyant

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Korean construction companies won $65.2 billion worth of overseas orders this year, the second largest after 2010, said the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport yesterday.

Although that was short of a government goal of $70 billion, it shows that the overseas construction market is recovering.

Korea’s overseas construction orders, which hovered below $50 billion until 2009, jumped to 71.6 billion, a record high, in 2010. But the figure fell to $59.1 billion the following year.

“The country’s annual order volume is showing stabilization in the range between $60 billion and $70 billion, which is positive,” the Land Ministry said.

A total of 449 construction and engineering companies won 679 orders from 104 countries, the ministry reported. In 2012, 409 companies received 617 orders from 95 countries worth $64.9 billion.

Asian countries accounted for 42 percent of the orders, the largest market for Korean companies.

Middle Eastern countries accounted for 40 percent. North America took 10 percent.

Orders from Asia surpassed $20 billion for the first time owing to companies’ efforts to diversify their markets, up 42 percent from a year earlier. Asia has now surpassed the Middle East, which was the top market for Korean companies since 2001.

By company, Samsung C&T ranked first by winning $13.5 billion in orders, followed by Hyundai E&C, GS E&C and Daewoo E&C.

Samsung C&T grabbed a $5.8 billion order from Australian-based Roy Hill Holdings to build an iron ore processing plant, a 340-kilometer (211-mile) railway line and port facilities. This was the largest deal of the year.

About 61 percent of the orders were plant constructions, the report showed. Civil engineering orders claimed about 28 percent.

The ministry forecast overseas construction orders will increase steadily next year and surpass $70 billion.

The Middle East region is predicted to be a lucrative market as some large petrochemical plant orders that were held up are likely to be placed.

The companies expect more than $26 billion in orders from Kuwait alone.

The International Contractors Association of Korea (ICAK) projects the total order volume could reach $72 billion next year. The association has already confirmed more than $30 billion in orders.

Industry insiders say Korea’s share of the global construction market is steadily expanding.

BY SONG SU-HYUN [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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