• Saudi fund completes Posco E&C acquisition
  • The $1.1bn deal was signed in June
  • Company will target rail and hotel projects in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has completed a $1.1bn deal to acquire a 38 per cent stake in South Korea’s Posco Engineering & Construction (Posco E&C).

The deal, which was signed in June, involves parent company Posco selling a 26 per cent stake to PIF. Posco E&C will issue new shares to sell a 12 per cent holding to PIF.

Posco will remain the majority shareholder, with a 52.8 per cent stake.

Posco E&C had net assets of 2,972bn won ($2.7bn) at the end of 2014, but a high debt burden.

Posco is said to be unloading assets to focus on its core business and cope with the steel market downturn.

The sovereign wealth fund and Posco plan to establish a joint venture to carry out infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia. They will focus on rail and hotel schemes.

The deal has been delayed by corruption allegations at Posco E&C. Prosecutors investigated Posco and several subsidiaries including Posco E&C over alleged $9bn slush funds and political corruption earlier in 2015, according to local press.

Contractors up for sale

Contractors typically complain that construction is a thankless industry with low margins and high risks. Those gripes have done little to dissuade regional investment vehicles from acquiring stakes in construction companies. Read more

Stay informed with the latest in the Middle East
Download the MEED app today, available on Apple and Android devices