EADS wins Saudi security deal

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European aerospace group EADS said yesterday it won a five-year contract to help boost Saudi border security, which an official at a local partner said is worth $2.3 billion (R17 billion).
“It’s about 8.5 billion Saudi riyals ($2.27 billion),” an official at Al-Rasheed Trading & Contracting, a Saudi company which will help EADS with construction works, said, speaking on conditions of anonymity, Reuters reports.
“It was signed last night,” the official added.
A spokesperson at EADS declined to give any indication on the amount of the contract, but did say it would be the prime contractor on the largest ever competed worldwide as a full solution.
The deal is part of plans by the world’s biggest oil exporter to bolster frontier surveillance with hundreds of extra radar facilities, coastal detection centres, telecommunications networks and reconnaissance aircraft.
Saudi officials have warned about escalating violence and sectarian fighting in Iraq and an insurgency against the US-backed government in Baghdad.
EADS shares extended their gains after the news, rising more than 4% before standing 3.2 % higher at €11.88 (R120) by 1514 GMT on the Paris bourse.
France’s Thales, Britain’s BAE Systems Plc and US group Raytheon had also vied for the contract.
In March, EADS and Al-Rasheed announced a first deal to install a razor-wire fence, thermal imaging and radar equipment along Saudi Arabia’s 900-km (560 mile) frontier with northern neighbour Iraq.
“This deal covers the rest of the border. It involves much technology, radar, camera systems,” the official said.
More projects might come up such as a deal possibly worth up to 1 billion riyals ($266.7 million), ( R2058 million) to secure a major border crossing point to neighbouring Oman, the official said.