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Turkish firms eye megaprojects in Kuwait

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
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While Kuwait will invest $150 billion in the fields of infrastructure, superstructure, petro-chemistry, health and transportation by 2020 as part of the country's investment plan, the number of projects that will be carried out by Turkish contracting firms is expected to increase. Development Minister Lütfi Elvan's earlier statement suggesting that Kuwait had $150 billion worth of project stock and planned to carry out 523 mega projects as part of the five-year development plan was welcomed by the Turkish business world.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Foreign Economic Relations Board Turkish-Kuwait Business Council President İbrahim Ekşi said Turkish firms did not previously get the chance to work on big projects and the prices were low. According to Ekşi, after Limak Holding won the bidding for the construction of Kuwait International Airport's new terminal building at an offering of $4.3 billion, and STFA construction won the bidding for the port construction, Turkish contracting firms started doing business in the country. "$150 billion worth of infrastructure and superstructure projects are foreseen by 2020. All of these can be conducted by Turkish contracting firms," Ekşi said. Recalling that Turkish firms have taken over 30 projects worth $6.5 billion in Kuwait since 2014, with only $400 million of that amount being received before that date, Ekşi said Turkish firms are expected to undersign additional projects worth $10 billion by 2020. He stressed that it was hard to enter Kuwait's market; however, new projects will be taken on provided that Turkish firms become successful. Ekşi stressed that his own company did its first job and will continue doing business in the country by doubling the number of projects they have conducted so far.Limak Holding Chairman Nihat Özdemir said that they won the bid for the construction of Kuwait International Airport's terminal building for $4.3 billion, taking the highest-cost project by a Turkish contractor in the world. Pointing out that Kuwait's future projects have increased the appetite of the contractor companies, Özdemir said Limak had three ongoing projects in Kuwait. "From now on, Turkish firms will take over projects here. We can see that Turkish firms entered and led the way in big biddings," Özdemir said, adding that Kuwait was a great market for Turkey and Kuwaiti officials had positive opinions about Turkey and Turkish companies.

"We need to come here more, and pay high-level visits. The Turkish Contractors Association and chambers of commerce should pay more attention to Kuwait," Özdemir said. Highlighting that they wanted to do their best in the airport construction and more companies should come to this country, Özdemir said that Turkish firms should take at least $40 billion of the $150 billion-worth of job potential in Kuwait by 2020. "If we can take this $40 billion portfolio, it will be an important step for Turkey. It can replace the markets we have lost," Özdemir said. "We are having big problems in Iraq and Libya. We will take over more jobs in Kuwait, which has a positive opinion on Turkey."

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