Latin America Grows into Cash Cow for Korean Builders

Latin America is turning into a burgeoning new market for Korean construction companies. Central Asian countries are also expected to place billions of U.S. dollars in orders in the coming years.

The International Contractors Association of Korea on Sunday said Korean builders won $5.4 billion worth of construction orders from Latin America so far this year, a 60-fold increase from the same period of 2013.

Last month, Hyundai Engineering and Construction won a $4.3 billion order from Venezuela to upgrade an oil refinery. In January, Samsung Engineering and Construction won a $440 million order to build a power plant in Chile, while Hyundai landed a $330 million order to build a bridge there.

Choi Jae-duk at the association said, "We are seeing the fruits of tapping into the Latin American market over the last four or five years."

Central Asia, the destination of President Park Geun-hye's visit last month, is also a promising market. Large builders are aggressively tracking potential deals in both regions. Samsung has established new subsidiaries in Bolivia, Mexico and Kazakhstan. Daewoo Engineering and Construction and SK Engineering and Construction are also considering new branches in those countries and hiring local agents.

Ahn Shi-kwon at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said, "We aim to achieve $70 billion in orders from emerging markets this year."

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 07, 2014 12:28 KST