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Iraq awards cement factory contract to Turkish group
June 20, 2011 / 4:28 PM / 6 years ago

Iraq awards cement factory contract to Turkish group

* Company to spend $110 mln to renovate factory

* Contract is 15-year joint venture contract

BAGHDAD, June 20 (Reuters) - Iraq has awarded Turkey’s Partner Teknik a contract to renovate a cement factory as part of plans to rehabilitate its dilapidated state industries after years of wars and sanctions, the government said on Monday.

Adel Karim, a deputy minister of industry and minerals, said the factory in Samawa, 230 km (140 miles) south of Baghdad, was set up in the 1980s and designed to produce 2 million tonnes of cement annually. It currently only produces 20 percent of that.

The Turkish company, which has an Iraqi partner, needs to spend around $110 million to reach 90 percent of its designed capacity in 36 months, another official in the ministry said.

Karim told Reuters, the factory “has been awarded and the signing of the contract with the investor will be within days.”

Iraq is trying to shake off the legacy of years of violence, sanctions and economic decline by opening up its financial and industrial sectors and luring foreign investment and expertise to help it rebuild.

Karim said the company will have a 73 percent share of production at the plant with the remainder going to the ministry in the 15-year contract.

The ministry has placed a condition on the Samawa contract that the Turkish and Iraqi partners keep all Iraqi staff currently employed at the state-owned factory, Karim said.

The ministry is seeking joint ventures with foreign companies in an attempt to protect Iraqi state employees at its factories and saving them from dismissal. There are 200,000 employees working Iraqi’s state-owned factories and companies, of which only 30 percent are needed, Karim said.

The ministry has so far managed to attract seven local and foreign investors into the rehabilitation process. Lafarge , a pioneer of investment in Iraq, already has cement plants in semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan. In 2010, it began a $200 million renovation of a Kerbala cement plant. (Reporting by Aseel Kami; Editing by Patrick Markey and Jon Loades-Carter)

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