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Washington D.C., July 1, 2002
—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement to invest US$5 million in Middle East Regional Development Enterprises (MEREN) to help establish a silica sand manufacturing plant in the south of Jordan. The $15 million project, which will export its products mainly to Europe and the Gulf region, will help improve Jordan’s export competitiveness and will generate much-needed foreign currency earnings.
MEREN, with an installed annual capacity of 530,000 tons, is designed to manufacture different grades of sand for the flat glass and clear glass container industry, crystal and tableware industry, ceramics, paint and rubber industries, and oil and gas extraction industry. In addition to the 40 jobs created by the new plant, it is expected that approximately 300 jobs will be created in the transport, storage and handling, and mining sectors that will support MEREN’s silica sand operation.
“Jordan has a natural advantage in the silica sand sector,” said Sami Haddad, IFC Director for Middle East and North Africa. “The creation of MEREN will help promote an internationally competitive Jordanian private enterprise and stimulate the establishment of new downstream industries in Jordan such as glass and ceramics manufacturing. It fits in with IFC’s long-term goal of helping Jordan build a strong export-oriented manufacturing base as a key factor in the country’s economic growth,” he added.
The IFC investment in MEREN will comprise an equity investment of $600,000 and a loan of $4.4 million.
MEREN’s main shareholders are well established businessmen from Jordan and the Gulf: Mr. Riad Sadik, Managing Partner
of Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises based in Dubai; Mr. Hamid Jafar, the owner and Chairman of Crescent Petroleum Company International, Sharjah, Managing Director of Intoil Bahrain and the Chairman of Gulftainer Co. Ltd., Sharjah; and Mr. Hassan Mango, Director of Hamdi & Ibrahim Mango Company based in Amman, with interests in banking, trade and manufacturing.
MEREN’s technical partner is Outokumpu Finland, the world’s leading group active in metal and mineral related technologies. Outokumpu will ensure transfer of state of the art technology and provide know-how and training to the local staff.
IFC’s mission is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. Since its founding in 1956, IFC has committed more than $31 billion of its own funds and arranged $20 billion in syndications for 2,636 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s committed portfolio at the end of FY01 was $14.3 billion.
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