Siemens returns to Libya with 700 million euro power deals

A logo of Siemens is pictured on a building in Mexico City, Mexico, May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

LONDON (Reuters) - Siemens has signed power-generation contracts with Libya worth around 700 million euros (£616.7 million), it said on Monday, marking a return to active business in the north African country after the unrest that broke out after the 2011 uprising.

The German industrial group will build and service two gas-power plants in Misrata and west Tripoli, giving a shot in the arm to its turbines business where it is cutting jobs due to dwindling demand in developed economies.

The new plants will add around 1.3 gigawatts to Libya’s electricity-generation capacity.

Extra electricity supply is badly needed in Libya, where there have been frequent power cuts in recent years because of rising demand and the degradation of infrastructure linked to political and economic turmoil in the oil-rich nation.

Last month, a group of Turkish employees working on a power station in the city of Ubari was evacuated after four of their colleagues were kidnapped, stalling work at the plant and highlighting the still-high risks of working in the country.

Siemens has been present in Libya since the 1950s and says around 30 percent of the country’s electricity generation runs on its equipment.

The Munich-based group is also massively building out power-generation capacity in neighbouring Egypt, where it won an 8 billion-euro contract, the biggest in its history, in 2015.

Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Christoph Steitz