Salini Impreglio chasing $3bn of Middle East construction work
Italian construction company Salini Impreglio has revealed its plans to expand in the Middle East, namely with contract bids in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Totalling $3bn, the firm is targeting several massive infrastructure schemes, including a slice of the Neom megaproject in Saudi Arabia.
Estimated to cost $500bn, Neom is planned as a purpose-built economic city spanning 26,500 sq km, to be situated in Tabuk.
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Salini Impreglio said in a media statement: “The Middle East, in particular Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE, offers many opportunities for the group, which has one of the biggest portfolio of contracts by value in the region of all foreign infrastructure companies.”
The company had form in the region, having operated there for the last 50 years and completing notable projects on buildings such as Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
In the Saudi capital Riyadh, Salini Impreglio has prequalified for the first part of a billion-dollar retail scheme, The Avenues, which is to be made up of a shopping centre, two hotels and an office block.
Oman is another market the company is seeking to expand its footprint in, and it is a lucrative one.
According to a report by BNC Network, as of April there are 2,410 active projects in the country, totalling $190bn in value.
It is thought that stabilising oil prices are giving GCC governments confidence of investing in large infrastructure projects. However, 330 projects are still currently on hold.
France to invest €1.8bn in Egypt’s infrastructure
France will invest a total of €1.8bn into Egypt’s infrastructure focusing specifically on upgrading the Cairo Metro, building a railway to Sudan, and developing water and energy schemes. Officials have called the investment a “major boost to bilateral cooperation”.
The Cairo Metro
Included in the financing is a concessional government loan of around €800mn to upgrade Line 1 of the Cairo Metro, introduced in the 1980s. The financing will pay for 55 trainsets for the line and is provided by the French engineering company, Alstom.
Line 6 is also due to be upgraded using further state-guaranteed loans worth up to €2bn. Bruno Le Maire said that this would be negotiated over the next six months. France and Egypt have worked in close cooperation ever since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president in 2014, despite differences over human rights and strong criticism of Egypt by rights activists and some foreign states.
Nine more projects over the next half a decade
A further €1bn from France’s development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to cover a range of other projects over the next half a decade.
These projects include a railway line between Aswan, southern Egypt, and Wadi Halfa in Sudan, as well as several projects in the renewable energy and water purification industries. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister, said Egypt was a “strategic partner and commercial dealings with it would be developed. France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans,” he said.
According to Le Maire, the AFD will also €150mn to support the construction of a universal health insurance programme. French contractors such as Vinci and Bouygues have a long history of working on the Egyptian capital’s underground system.
Talking about the relationship between France And Egypt, Le Maire concluded: “France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans”.