Linde plans to build a $250m insulin plant in Saudi Arabia. Linde, the German engineering company is expected to sign a contract for a diabetes drug facility in late 2010.

Linde Engineering is due to conduct a series of meetings before the summer with a view to signing a contract early in the fourth quarter of 2010 for the construction of a $250m insulin, the drug used to treat diabetes, plant in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

[Linde] hopes to sign a contract in the fourth quarter of 2010 for the construction of the insulin plant

Speaking at the MEED Middle East Petrochemicals 2010 Conference in Abu Dhabi, Matthias Stein, managing director of Linde in the Middle East said that although the project is in its early stages a memorandum of understanding has already been signed for the 1,000 kilogrammes-a-year facility (kg/y).

“Pharmaceuticals is a niche market for Linde,” Stein said. “We have no specialist technology for these facilities and are acting solely as an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor in this instance.”

Stein added that the client was an independent, private company, but declined to name it.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimate that around 25 per cent of the adult population of Saudi Arabia has diabetes, one of the highest rates in the world, and therefore demand for insulin in the country is high.

Linde is also involved in the construction of a similar insulin facility in Ras al-Khaimah for the Gulf Pharmaceutical Industry that will have a capacity of 1,500 kg/y – equivalent to around 50 million vials of the drug.