Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) has issued a statement saying it is still a private sector company owned by its shareholders.
The statement was issued in response to reports that the government had taken managerial control of the company. SBG says some shares in the company may have been transferred to the government in settlement of outstanding dues.
The report on the takeover had said the government took control of the Jeddah-based construction company after its chairman, Bakr Binladin, was detained as part of the corruption crackdown in the kingdom. It has been widely reported that those detained have been negotiating for their freedom and Binladin or other family members could have signed over some of the SBG shares they hold to the government.
The state of Saudi Arabia’s construction sector is becoming a growing concern as the kingdom prepares to start work on a new wave of major projects such as the $500bn Neom city. Over the past three years, the traditional major players that would have been relied upon to build such large projects have struggled financially and this has forced Riyadh to look at new delivery options.
These options include buying stakes in foreign companies, forming joint venture contracting companies with the private sector, and engaging programme, project and construction management consultants.
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