Canada's SNC-Lavalin denies 'inaccurate' reports about Saudi exit

Construction giant says statements about exit from Saudi Arabia are 'inaccurate' and reiterates 'long-term' plans for kingdom

SNC-Lavalin has denied reports claiming that it plans to exit Saudi Arabia.
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SNC-Lavalin has denied reports claiming that it plans to exit Saudi Arabia.

Canadian construction company SNC-Lavalin has denied “inaccurate” media reports claiming that it would exit Saudi Arabia in light of the recent diplomatic spat between both countries.

During an investor conference call on 28 January, 2019, SNC-Lavalin’s chief executive officer, Neil Bruce, said “a further cooling of the relationship” between both countries had been witnessed in the last six weeks.

“We haven’t had to reduce out headcount [in Saudi Arabia] dramatically yet,” Bruce said during the call. “But if the relationship stays where it is and we have difficulty winning the same levels of work, then clearly revenues will come down and the headcount will come down through [2019].”

Days after the call, the Canadian company said “some media reports” had made “inaccurate statements about SNC-Lavalin withdrawing from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”. Citing the its history in the kingdom, SNC-Lavalin said it hoped to continue its “long-term relationship” with local stakeholders in the future.

“For over 40 years, SNC-Lavalin has been an integral part of supporting the continuous growth of many companies and industries in the kingdom,” the company announcement read.

“We are continuing to support all our clients’ ongoing projects. They have come to count on us for our expertise, in-country experience and dedication, and we look forward to continuing our long-term relationship for many years to come.”

Bruce, during the conference call on 28 January, said that the company’s Saudi Arabian clients wanted the firm to continue working on its projects in the kingdom. He added, however, that SNC-Lavalin was “a lot more cautious about future work” in Saudi Arabia, and that its “ability to secure significant future work is very much under review”.

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