DUBAI, March 16 (Reuters) - Construction work has begun on a joint venture to build a shipyard on Saudi Arabia's eastern coast, oil rig builder Lamprell Plc said in a statement on Friday.
The joint venture, International Maritime Industries (IMI), started operations after reaching agreement for a loan from the state-backed Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF), the statement said.
The SIDF agreed in principle last year to provide 3.75 billion riyals ($1 billion) in financing for the project.
IMI is a partnership between United Arab Emirates-based Lamprell, state oil giant Saudi Aramco, National Shipping Co of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) and South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries Co.
An Aramco executive will be chief executive of the project, which Aramco has previously said will cost more than 20 billion riyals ($5.3 billion).
Lamprell's anticipated total equity contribution over the construction period is up to $140 million, the statement said.
The nearly 12 million square-meter facility is planned to have an annual capacity to manufacture four offshore rigs and over 40 vessels, including three Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), and service over 260 maritime products.
($1 = 3.7501 riyals) (Reporting by Katie Paul Editing by Mark Potter)