By Joyce Lee
SEOUL/CAIRO (Reuters) -Saudi Arabia has signed investment agreements worth about $30 billion with South Korean companies, Saudi-based Asharq TV quoted the kingdom's investment minister as saying on Thursday.
The agreements coincide with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to Asia's fourth-largest economy, where South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol is scheduled to hold talks with him later in the day.
Companies including Samsung C&T Corp and POSCO Holdings Inc have signed over 20 agreements with Saudi counterparts in fields such as energy cooperation, railways, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and gaming, South Korea's industry ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Asharq TV also quoted the Saudi Venture Capital Company as saying it had agreed to establish seven specialised funds.
Among the agreements, Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) and four other Korean firms signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund to build and operate a hydrogen and ammonia production plant in the Saudi kingdom, the company said.
The project will be worth about $6.5 billion, said a source with knowledge of the deal, who was not authorised to speak with media on the matter and declined to be named.
The plant is expected to produce 1.2 million tonnes of green hydrogen and ammonia annually, KEPCO said. It is to be built over 2025-2029 and operate for 20 years, the Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday, citing industry sources.
Another pact is Hyundai Rotem Co's memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia to cooperate on a railway project for the Middle Eastern country's $500 billion NEOM economic zone, the ministry said. It did not disclose the potential dollar amount of this agreement.
"The (South Korean) government will actively support the successful implementation of cooperative projects which apply Korea's state-of-the-art architecture ... in NEOM smart city," said South Korea's trade minister, Lee Chang-yang.
Hyundai Rotem shares rose 8.5%, versus a 1.1% drop in the wider market. Shares in Lotte Fine Chemical, which signed an agreement for chemical industry cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Investment, rose 2.1%.
Also, S-Oil Corp, whose largest shareholder is Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Saudi Aramco), said it plans to invest a total of 9.3 trillion won ($7.0 billion) into its Ulsan factory to produce more high-value petrochemical products.
($1 = 1,337.7100 won)
(Reporting by Joyce Lee and Heekyong Yang in Seoul, and Moaz Abd-Alaziz and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Tom Hogue)