China's leading construction company halts projects in Libya amid unrest

08:43, March 01, 2011      

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China State Construction Engrg. Corp. Ltd. (China Construction), China's leading off-shore construction outsourcing company, on Monday said it is suspending its projects in Libya as the unrest continued in the North African state.

Company sources said China Construction has signed construction contracts amounting to 17.6 billion yuan (2.67 billion U.S. dollars) in Libya since 2007. More than half of the projects are still underway.

"The unfinished projects have been suspended and their future development remains uncertain," said a spokesman of the company.

The spokesman said though the management of the projects did not incur loss, the evacuation of construction workers would increase the cost.

Chinese workers of scores of Chinese companies operating on engineering projects in Libya are being evacuated out the country as riots unfolded over the past few days.

Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday that almost 29,000 Chinese have been evacuated out of Libya. About 2,500 had been flown back to China, while 23,000 had been temporarily accommodated in third countries, and 3,400 were en route to third countries, the ministry said.

The majority of Chinese nationals in Libya are employees of Chinese companies with businesses in the country.

About 75 Chinese companies were operating in Libya, involving about 36,000 staff and 50 projects, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement last week. The ministry said at least 27 Chinese construction sites or camps had been attacked and robbed as of last Wednesday.

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), parent of PetroChina, said it is suspending operations in Libya while evacuating all 391 Chinese employees.

Middle East and North Africa are a key market for China's off-shore construction and engineering companies. A spokesman with the China International Contractors Association said though Middle East riots pose huge threats to Chinese projects in the region, the off-shore construction outsourcing sector is still expected to grow around 10 percent this year.

Source: Xinhua
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