The bidders are Al-Arab Contracting Company, Saudi Oger, Al-Khodary & Sons Companyand Al-Mansoury Contracting. The facilities will take two years to build and will include external works, car parking, landscaping and sidewalks.

Saudi Oger is already carrying out work under an estimated SR 600 million ($160 million) contract placed in early summer by the Health Ministry. It covers the construction of 150 medical centres across the kingdom. Seventy clinics will be located in the western region; 24 centres in the central region; 23 in the Eastern Province; 18 in the northern region; and 15 in the northern border areas.

The Health Ministry is also planning to build 14 new general and specialist hospitals in the kingdom in 2005, offering a total of 1,880 beds. They include: 300-bed hospitals in Riyadh and Mecca; 200-bed hospitals in Najran, Abha and Hafr al-Batin; and a 100-bed general hospital in Al-Qunfudah.

The programme also includes the construction of six psychiatric hospitals in Jeddah, Medina, Buraidah, Arar, Al-Jouf and Jizan. The projects are at various stages of implementation and will be funded by a SR 16,870 million ($4,500 million) allocation in the current budget.