The Korea Herald


Overseas construction orders top $50b for second straight year

By Korea Herald

Published : Jan. 1, 2012 - 19:26

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Korean construction firms’ overseas orders topped $50 billion for a second straight year in 2011 in a healthy sign of their growing competitiveness, a report showed Sunday.

According to the report by the International Contractors Association of Korea, local builders won a combined $59.1 billion worth of deals last year.

That falls far short of a record $71.6 billion set in 2010. But it still substantiates Korea’s clout in the global engineering and construction market, the organization said, given that a single order amounted to $20 billion in 2010 for nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates.

The report suggested other evidence of their bullish performance in a shaky market clouded with global economic uncertainties, a Japanese nuclear meltdown and popular uprisings across the Middle East that stalled a spate of ongoing and new infrastructure projects.

“Even though 2011 started out full of anxiety, the figures proved that Korean builders have secured a competitive edge in the international market with their sales unwavering in the face of market risks,” the report said.

By region, the Middle East remained the largest client last year with orders totaling $30 billion despite a 37.5 percent drop from 2010. Asia came next with a record $19 billion, up about 7.4 percent.

Albeit small in numbers, data showed a whopping 221 percent year-on-year jump in contracts from Latin America, worth $6.6 billion in 2011.

Transactions dwindled in North America, Europe and Africa, however.

By company, Samsung Engineering topped the list with about $7 billion of overseas contracts, followed by POSCO Engineering & Construction with $6.9 billion.

Faced with a slumping construction market at home, Korean builders have been expanding their forays into new markets in recent years for a fresh source of income.

This year, the government set a $70 billion target in overseas orders and pledged aid for cash-strapped builders for technology exports and local housing projects.

According to IHS Global Insight Inc., a research firm, the global construction market is projected to grow 6.2 percent this year to more than $8 trillion on the back of brisk power plant and infrastructure projects in emerging economies. It expanded 2.7 percent last year, reaching $7.3 trillion.

By Shin Hyon-hee (