Saudi Arabia strikes $1bn Korean engineering deal

Updated 25 October 2017

Saudi Arabia strikes $1bn Korean engineering deal

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has shelled out $1 billion for a 38 percent stake in Posco E&C, the construction arm of the giant South Korean steelmaker Posco.
The deal is driven by the Korean company’s drive to expand in the Middle East and comes as Posco E&C, in which Posco holds an 89.53 percent stake, plans to go public to bolster its balance sheet.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh on Tuesday, Posco head Ohjoon Kwon confirmed earlier media reports that the South Koreans would make a meaningful contribution to the Kingdom’s “Saudi Vision 2030” economic program by engaging in various construction projects.
The company has already invested $14 million for a 40 percent share in a joint venture with PIF called “Posco E&C Saudi Arabia,” revealed Kwon. The PIF holds the remaining 60 percent.
“Posco aspires to create business opportunities and contribute to the Saudi National Transformation Program through knowledge transfer and best practice sharing,” Kwon said.
He said he looked forward to sharing the means by which South Korea undertook economic diversification after being as reliant on agriculture as Saudi Arabia is on oil today.
He believed KSA had a taken a first step towards the development of its steel industry, “which is the very foundation of any industrialization effort.”
Posco, he added, was currently working with a Saudi Arabian developer on an urban development project within the Riyadh metropolitan region. 

Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 16 June 2019

Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.