Kingdom Holding says tower not on hold

Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holdings Company (KHC) has lashed out at media reports that have said its Kingdom Tower project has been shelved due to the current economic climate.
Kingdom Holding says tower not on hold
By Benjamin Millington
Sat 21 Feb 2009 04:00 AM

Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holdings Company (KHC) has lashed out at media reports that have said its Kingdom Tower project has been shelved due to the current economic climate.

The tower is slated to become the world's tallest at more than 1km, but its future was cast into doubt last week when a Middle East-based weekly digest reported it was on hold indefinitely.

The source was reportedly close to the project, but KHC have vehemently denied the claims.

"We would like to make it clear that (the media) has published false and wrong information regarding the Kingdom's Jeddah project," a media spokesperson told Construction Week.

"It is unfortunate that (the media) resorted to practicing inappropriate journalism by basing their article on information given by an unofficial, unnamed source that is not from KHC.

"KHC is a publically traded company and is transparent with its information and news."

Last week's media reports also suggested Kingdom Tower's project managers, Bechtel, had ended their involvement with the project, a fact which Construction Week has confirmed with the company.

A spokesperson for the US construction giant said any further questions should be directed to KHC, but when KHC was asked about Bechtel's involvement and the project's future, its  response was limited:

"The point in Kingdom Holding's reply is that the project isn't on hold as you heard," said a KHC spokesman.

KHC is the largest company in Saudi Arabia but suffered a heavy financial loss in the fourth quarter of 2008 losing US $8.3 billion (SAR 31.13 billion) due to the downturn in equity markets.

Kingdom Tower was officially launched in October and is planned to be the centrepiece of KHC's $26.7 billion Kingdom City near Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Kingdom City will cover an area of 7.1km2 with a built up area of 23 million m2 comprised of commercial, residential, institutional, educational, entertainment, retail and hotel facilities.

The city is expected to house 80,000 residents and accommodate 250,000 visitors.

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