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Saudi Binladin Group restructured as new chairman appointed

Contracting giant's CFO said to resign as Khalid Nahas picked to lead Istidama-backed Binladin Group Holding Co

Saudi Binladin Group has been restructured [representational image of Riyadh].
ITP / Bloomberg
Saudi Binladin Group has been restructured [representational image of Riyadh].

Major restructuring changes are reportedly under way at Saudi Arabian construction contractor Saudi Binladin Group, with Reuters reporting that the building company has been reorganised under a new chairman, businessman Khalid Nahas.

The report, dated 18 March, 2019, states that Binladin Group Holding Co has been established as a new entity, with Istidama – a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance – holding 36.22% of the firm.

The remaining 63.78% is said to be held by Binladin Company for Development and Commercial Investment, with the new holding group to be led by Nahas. 

Furthermore, only two members of Saudi Arabia's Bin Laden family – brothers Saad and Abdullah – have representation on the new nine-person board for the company, Reuters' report adds, citing documents “from the kingdom’s commerce ministry”.

"The stake owned by Istidama reflects the ownership relinquished by brothers Bakr, Saleh, and Saad last year after they were arrested in the corruption purge [in 2017] led by Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman," the Reuters report adds.

In January 2019, reports surfaced that Bakr bin Laden, the contracting company’s chairman, had been temporarily released from detention to attend a relative’s funeral in Jeddah. 

A separate report by Reuters claims that Saudi Binladin Group's chief financial officer, Klaus Froelich, has left the company. 

Froelich held various roles at banking giant Morgan Stanley for 16 years before joining Saudi Binladin Group in April 2016. 

He was reportedly hired “to help the firm overcome a crisis sparked by the collapse of a construction crane in [Makkah's] Grand Mosque that killed 107 people”.

The crane collapse in 2015 occurred amid high winds and a thunderstorm, with the event also injuring 210 worshippers.

The Saudi Supreme Court has ruled in 2017 that that crane was placed in the correct upright position, but was affected by the weather conditions beyond the company’s control. However, Saudi media reported in October 2018 that the case was set to be reopened amid negligence claims from the kingdom's Public Prosecution.

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Construction Week - Issue 742
May 23, 2019