Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Building firms on Saudi trade trip

Northern Ireland construction companies are examining opportunities in Saudi Arabia

Construction companies are among a 27-strong Northern Ireland trade mission to Saudi Arabia hoping to tap in to billions of pounds worth of contracts.

Many of the firms on the Invest NI trip are involved in the manufacture of engineering machinery for infrastructure projects, professional services including architectural consultancy, mechanical and electrical engineering, and building security. Officials said an earlier mission to the region had already reaped dividends.

Invest NI's Dr Vicky Kell said: "Construction opportunities in Saudi Arabia are vast. Current infrastructure and public sector building programmes are valued at some 35 billion dollars (£22bn). "

She added: "They include plans to build roads, railways, airports as well as hundreds of new factories, a doubling of the desalination capacity, and an expansion of electrical generation and distribution. An additional 4 billion dollars (£2.5bn) is being set aside to build 4,000 schools.

"Northern Ireland companies have the expertise and experience to gain a share of the business that is developing rapidly in a nation that continues to benefit from oil and gas revenues."

The mission is the second organised by Invest NI to Saudi Arabia this year and will be based in Riyadh, the capital, and Jeddah, the Kingdom's main port.

Mivan, the Antrim-based specialist in fast-track construction technology, is included in the group and it has already secured projects in the Gulf States of Dubai and Qatar, as well as a recent contract in Egypt.

Invest NI said it has developed close links with two of Saudi Arabia's biggest companies, Saudi BinLaden and Eimaar.

Several Northern Ireland companies are quoting for substantial business from these companies and other contractors involved in huge projects, to develop infrastructure and urban areas.

Companies said to have won business in Saudi Arabia through their participation in Invest NI trade missions include: Bubble (NI) of Belfast; Cunningham Covers, Maghera; Liddell Linens, Craigavon; Mallaghan Engineering, Dungannon; and SRS Finlay, Ballygawley. The latest trade mission will run from October 15 to 22.

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