Washington D.C., May 1, 2001
—The International Finance Corporation has signed agreements for a US$15 million investment in the Albanian cement sector. IFC’s loan, together with parallel financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), will help finance a $61 million expansion and modernization project of a leading cement factory and represents the largest foreign direct investment in Albania’s manufacturing industry since the country’s transition to a market economy in the early 1990s.
Seament Albania, Sh.p.k, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Seament Group of Lebanon, will install a new dry process kiln line with energy efficient technology at its main cement production facility, Elbasan Cement Factory (ECF), located in southern Albania. Seament acquired the formerly state-owned cement plant in March 1997 during the government’s privatization process. The project is expected to quadruple the plant’s total cement production capacity from the present 200,000 tons per annum to almost 800,000 tons per annum.
As a result of the new technology being implemented, ECF will achieve major savings in fuel and electricity costs, while a series of environmental improvement measures will radically reduce effluent emissions. Drawing from its significant experience in the cement industry worldwide, IFC has provided critical technical assistance to Seament, which has led to substantial cost savings and important efficiency gains. The project will serve as a vehicle for developing the technical skills of local Albanian workers through company-initiated training and operations management.
Khosrow Zamani, Director of IFC’s Southern Europe and Central Asia Department, said that the success of this project will pave the way for other foreign direct investment in Albania. Mr. Zamani added that by supporting an investment in Seament’s Albanian operations, IFC is clearly demonstrating its commitment to the economic development of Albania while at the same time boosting competition in the domestic cement industry.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries as a way to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in emerging markets, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.