Saudi Binladin Group to be slimmed down, renamed

Saudi Binladin Group to be slimmed down, renamed
2 min read
24 May, 2018
Following the Saudi Arabia's government control of the construction giant, the Binladen Group is set to be slimmed down and renamed.
Binladin Group has encountered serious difficulties in the past few years [Getty]
Saudi construction giant Binladen Group is set to be slimmed down and renamed, confirmed six sources to Reuters.

It follows the governmental seizure of management control from family members in an anti-graft drive, which critics believe was an attempt to limit the power of the kingdom's leading families.

The company is being run by a five-member committee who were appointed by the Saudi government to oversee the process, and the proposed move would be the first in a broad restructuring planned.

Hundreds are expected to be laid off, and a new holding company will be set up under a different name.

Sources did not indicate whether the name had already been chosen, or what it could be.

Established in 1931, Saudi Binladin Group grew quickly after expanding two mosques in the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Binladin Group has encountered serious difficulties in the past few years and has laid off tens of thousands of employees.

The Saudi construction giant had previously denied that Riyadh had taken over the company after its chairman was detained in an alleged anti-corruption campaign.

The company did admit that some shares may have been transferred to the government.

Chairman Bakr Binladin was among dozens of princes and elite businessmen and officials arrested months ago in a crackdown by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Riyadh claims it is part of efforts to weed out rampant corruption in the country, but critics say it's a way of suppressing the crown prince's potential royal rivals.

Most have been released as Saudi authorities negotiated financial settlements with those detained that could earn state coffers about $100 billion.

Reuters reported that one of the sources said the 537 business units under the current company set-up would be rationalised, which could include them being sold off, wound down or merged. The remaining units will be placed under the new structure, the source said.

In February, sources had claimed that the Saudi Binladin Group was set to build one of the palaces from the five awarded in the development of a huge $500 billion megacity.

The Saudi-based Binladin construction firm belongs to the family of the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, however the company cut ties to him.