Chinese projects worth billions at risk in Libya

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 March, 2011, 12:00am

Billions of dollars worth of Chinese projects in Libya are at risk after China's state-owned enterprises evacuated their workers.

China State Construction Engineering Corporation said its 20,000 residential construction projects in Libya, worth 17.6 billion yuan (HK$20.8 billion), were under threat.

With the evacuations, all of its projects in Libya had stopped, the firm said in an announcement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, where it is listed.

'The evacuation of workers will incur expenses,' the announcement said. 'There is uncertainty over the future of the projects.'

China Railway Construction Corporation employed 3,573 people in three railway projects worth more than US$4 billion, said the Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed firm. Since unrest in Libya broke out on February 16, CRCC said its project sites had been attacked, resulting in injuries to some employees and destruction of some equipment.

All staff had been evacuated, with 1,339 in Tunisia and 1,000 having reached Greece and Malta by ship. Some 341 were awaiting airlift, and 19 had arrived in China, the company said. Sinohydro, China's biggest dam builder, said it had flown 260 of its employees from its project in southern Libya to Sudan on Sunday, and they would later be flown back to China.

'The company chartered buses to drive Chinese nationals more than 400km in the face of danger and obstacles from the Libyan capital, Tripoli, to Tunisia,' it said on its website. More than 190 Sinohydro workers, including 18 injured, had reached Beijing.

China National Petroleum Corporation, evacuated all its 392 workers from Libya and helped evacuate 146 other Chinese nationals, it said on its website.

The Chinese embassies in Greece and Malta chartered four ships to evacuate Chinese nationals from Libya, the Ministry of Transport said. In Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, buses had transported evacuees who arrived at those airports, to various parts of the mainland, said the Ministry of Transport's website. In Guangdong, 1,000 buses were on standby to transport evacuees from Libya, the ministry said.