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Overseas construction orders won by South Korean companies rose 6 percent in
March from a year earlier, helped by large building contracts secured in the
Middle East and South Asia, data showed Tuesday.
The data by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs showed local builders signed deals totaling US$5.5 billion last month, compared with $5.2 billion a year earlier.
Last month's gain comes after orders dropped sharply in January and February of this year, which raised alarm bells in the construction industry as a whole.
March's total represents a 4.6-fold gain from February when construction companies won just $1.2 billion in overseas deals. The number for January stood at $1.5 billion.
The ministry attributed last month's strong showing to large projects won by Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co., Samsung Engineering Co. and Doosan Heavy Industry and Construction Co.
Hyundai won the $1.5 billion Maaden alumina refinery contract, while Samsung secured a $1 billion oil field development project in Iraq. Doosan contributed by sealing an $800 million thermal power plant building contract in India.
The latest data showed that half of all building orders secured in March were from countries in the Middle East, with 33 percent and 11 percent being secured in Asia and Latin America, respectively.
Of the building contracts signed, 71 percent or $5.8 billion worth were industrial plant construction.
The ministry, meanwhile, said local builders predicted the first-half contract number to hit $27.0 billion, up from $25.3 billion reached in the January-June period of 2011. For the whole year, local builders expect overseas orders to hit $70 billion from $59.1 billion last year, it added.