[Riyadh] Saudi authorities have allowed construction giant Binladin Group to tender for public building projects in the kingdom again, local media reported, just days after the firm reportedly laid off 77,000 foreign workers.
The Saudi daily Al-Watan reported on Thursday that a royal decree passed this week granting tender permission could aid the struggling group, which has faced unprecedented scrutiny since one of its cranes collapsed in Mecca last September, killing more than 100 people.
The paper had earlier reported that as of last Sunday 77,000 Binladin Group workers had been laid off. The group confirmed some departures, but refused to provide an exact figure.
As a result of the decree, several projects involving Binladin Group, including the King Abdelaziz Airport in Jeddah, will resume, Al-Watan cited an aviation official as saying.
Saudi Binladin Group was founded more than 80 years ago by the father of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, killed five years ago by US Navy Seals.
It developed landmarks including the domed Faisaliah Tower in central Riyadh and the Mecca Royal Clock Tower, one of the world's tallest buildings.
After decades of thriving on lucrative government contracts, the company faced unprecedented scrutiny after one of its cranes working on a major expansion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest site, toppled in September.
At least 109 people including foreign pilgrims died, leading King Salman to suspend the firm from new public contracts.
This has been a factor in the firm's economic difficulties, a well-informed source has told AFP.