Insurer’s shares hit after Binladin Group files crane claim

Shares of Saudi-listed United Cooperative Assurance (UCA) fell by up to 2.5% after the insurer received a claim from the Saudi Binladin Group for the crane collapse on 11 September at Mecca’s Grand Mosque.

The insurer said it had appointed inspectors to assess the damage that occurred during the incident that killed more than 100 people.

UCA shares recovered to close the day on 19 September down 1.9%, its lowest level in nearly two weeks, UAE newspaper The National reported.

A construction giant long favoured by the Saudi state for government contracts, the Saudi Binladin Group has come under sudden scrutiny after the tragedy.

Reuters reported that King Salman had also barred the group’s board members and senior executives from leaving the country after an investigation showed the crane was not erected in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

The group had been undertaking work on a major expansion of the mosque, reported to cost $26.6bn, but last week the government suspended the group from new contracts.

A royal decree also directed the Finance Ministry to review the group’s existing contracts, Reuters reported.

An official statement referred to the responsibility and "shortcomings" of the company following an investigation into the crane crash that also injured 238 other people. The statement did not give details, Reuters reported.

The huge construction crane toppled amid high winds, crashing through the roof of the Grand Mosque which surrounds the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest site. The death toll reached 107 according to some sources.

King Salman has vowed to make public the cause of the crane collapse.

Photograph: A view of ongoing construction at Mecca’s Grand Mosque in August 2014 (Fauzan/Wikimedia Commons)

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News