Shanghai, May 25, 2004
— The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has agreed to provide $70 million in debt financing to a newly formed subsidiary of Shanxi Antai Group. The Antai Group is on of China’s largest producers of merchant metallurgical coke. Coke is made from coal and a major reactive material for iron smelting. Its demand is linked to steel production.
The investment will support Antai’s construction of a greenfield production facility in Jiexiu City in northern Shanxi Province. The modern facility will meet high environmental, health, and safety standards. When completed the plant will produce one million tons of coke per year to meet the needs of the domestic and global markets.
“With this new operation Antai will be the leader in this field through its low cost, high quality modern production, and compliance with best practices in the areas of environment, health and safety,” said Assaad Jabre, IFC vice president for operations. China currently accounts for about 55 percent of the global merchant metallurgical coke trade. Much of the region’s coke production comes from heavily polluting beehive operations which are harmful to the workforce and local communities. “This project will help accelerate the closure of outdated facilities,” Mr. Jabre said.
The Antai Group was established in 1984. Led by founder Mr. Li Anmin, it experienced impressive growth from a start-up coke operation to one of the leading suppliers to the global market. The company became listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in February 2003. In addition to the IFC-financed coke project, the Group is nearing completion of a new million ton per year pig iron facility.
Chairman Li Anmin of the Antai Group said, “Our partnership with IFC represents a significant milestone in Antai’s continued development towards becoming a global leader in the pig iron and coke businesses. Following our initial public offering, this investment by IFC will help Antai to access new investors and partners as we look forward to our Group’s further expansion.”
The mission of IFC 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, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.