/ 18 February 2008

Chinese firm wins big Libyan railway contract

A Chinese contractor has won bids to build two railways in Libya worth a combined $2,6-billion as China enhances its economic presence in energy-rich African nations, state media said on Monday.

Under one contract, China Railway Construction, the firm that built part of the controversial railway to Tibet, would construct a 352km west-to-east coastal railway, the Xinhua news agency reported.

It will also build an 800km-long railway linking the southern city of Sebha to Misurata in the north to facilitate transportation of iron ore and passengers, the report said. Both projects are expected to start in June.

The coastal railway, with costs of 2,2-billion dinars ($1,8-billion), will take four years to complete, while the south-to-north railway, worth one billion dinars, will take three years.

China Railway Construction won 89,5 -billion yuan ($12,4-billion) of overseas construction contracts in the first 11 months of 2007, making it the biggest Chinese contractor of foreign projects, Xinhua said.

The company has released plans for a dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong in March to raise about $4-billion. – AFP