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Probe after accident in Saudi explosives factory

Saudia Arabia spent $69.1 billion on defence in 2023, and Saudi Chemical Company is a major supplier of military and civilian explosives Reuters
Saudia Arabia spent $69.1 billion on defence in 2023, and Saudi Chemical Company limited is a major supplier of military and civilian explosives
  • Accident in Riyadh killed two
  • Repairs to cost SAR10m
  • Company operates three factories

An investigation is under way after two men died in an accident at a Saudi Arabian explosives factory.

Saudi Chemical Company Holding said the accident at the Riyadh factory of its subsidiary Saudi Chemical Company, which makes civil and military explosives led to the death of two workers.

In two separate filings to the Saudi Stock Exchange, the company said that the accident occurred in a reactor in a production line in the early hours of last Tuesday, and four other workers were injured.

Initial assessments of the damage caused to the factory suggests the financial impact of the accident will be in the region of SAR10 million ($2.7 million), related to the initial cost of repairs to the affected production line. This will be reflected in financials for the first quarter of 2024.

Saudi Chemical Company’s website says it operates three factories, in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Northern Borders area.

It has several distribution sites spread throughout the kingdom to supply local and international markets with civil and military explosives and services.

The company has also established the Suez International Nitrate Company in Egypt. This makes ammonium nitrates and has a production capacity of 85,000 tonnes a year.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s biggest spenders on defence, particularly as a proportion of GDP.

It was fifth in GlobalData’s military spending list for 2022 with $65.3 billion, behind the US, China, Russia and India.

The defence budget for 2023 was $69.1 billion. In the kingdom’s 2024 budget, approved last month, defence was allocated almost $72 billion, one fifth of a total expenditure of $333 billion.

GlobalData forecasts that Saudi military spending will grow 4.5 percent a year up to 2028, reaching $86.4 billion.

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