Hanwha E&C wins $8 bil. project in Iraq
By Lee Hyo-sik
Hanwha Engineering & Construction (E&C), a building arm of Hanwha Group, has secured a mega deal in Iraq worth $8 billion to build a massive housing complex near the capital city of Baghdad. It is the single largest construction contract ever won by a Korean builder.
Hanwha said Thursday that it will soon sign a contract with the Iraqi government to build 100,000 houses and other urban infrastructure in Besmaya, a suburb located about 10 kilometers southeast of Baghdad. The new city will be built on 1,830 hectares and take seven years to complete.
``The project was recently approved by the Iraqi Cabinet. We will soon sign a formal contract with the Middle Eastern nation, about one year after the memorandum of understanding in May 2011,’’ a Hanwha E&C spokesman said.
Six types of homes will be built with floor space ranging from 100 to 140 square meters.
Building the new city is part of Iraq’s reconstruction efforts following the U.S. invasion in 2003 and the subsequent civil war that lasted for nearly a decade.
The spokesman said the company will design and build 100,000 homes and accompanying urban facilities. It will receive 25 percent of the estimated costs in advance to hire workers, and procure construction equipment and materials.
``This marks the first case in which Korea’s know-how in building new towns is being exported. We think the Iraqi deal will help us win similar development projects in the Middle East and other emerging markets,’’ he said.
Hanwha said the ongoing urban development scheme in Incheon, called Eco-Metro, helped to convince Iraqi officials of its advanced technology and extensive experience.
``Over the past year, Chairman Kim and other executives traveled to Iraq multiple times as part of efforts to secure the project. We think we gained the trust of the Iraqi officials after showing them Eco-Metro,’’ the spokesman said.
Once finalized, the deal will account for more than 10 percent of Korea’s annual target of $70 billion in overseas orders this year.
The builder said the project will provide its business partners with lucrative opportunities. ``It will also present a great chance for local jobseekers wanting to work overseas, helping to propel the nationwide job creation campaign,’’ according to Hanwha E&C.