Banks raise 200 mln euros for second Abidjan container port

ABIDJAN, July 10 Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:18pm EDT

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ABIDJAN, July 10 (Reuters) - Banque Atlantique, SocGen and Afreximbank have raised 200 million euros ($272.81 million) to start a second container terminal at Abidjan port in Ivory Coast, a banking spokesman said on Thursday.

The new terminal contract, awarded to a group led by France's Bollore last year, should boost capacity at one of Africa's busiest ports - a gateway for landlocked nations to the north and a transit point for beans from the world's top cocoa grower.

Port traffic is booming and total tonnage surpassed 21 million tonnes in 2013.

Banque Atlantique has raised 100 million euros and Societe Generale and Afreximbank gave 50 million euros each, Souleymane Diarrassouba, director general of Banque Atlantique, told Reuters. His bank is a subsidiary of Banque Populaire du Maroc.

"It's to allow the port of Abidjan to start the work on a second container terminal," he said, without giving a figure for the total cost of the project.

The port deal also includes France's Bouygues and a subsidiary of Danish shipping giant Maersk.

The contract has sparked controversy in Ivory Coast, with the trade minister criticising his own government for failing to promote competition by awarding it to Bollore.

($1 = 0.7331 Euros) (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly and Ange Aboa; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Emma Farge/Mark Heinrich)

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