Palestinian PADICO records $6.2 million profits
Chairman of the Board of the Palestinian Development and Investment Company (PADICO), Munib Al-Masri, recently announced that PADICO had recorded a $6.2 million profit in 2000, reports London based Al-Hayat daily.
Al-Masri, an influential Palestinian investor, added that PADICO and its subsidiaries generated $21 million in revenues while incurring $13.6 million of expenditures in 2000. The company’s assets grew from $171 million to $186 million during the same period.
Nablus-based PADICO has become one of the largest holding companies in the Palestinian Territories, and has been applauded by many, mostly in government circles, for bringing desperately needed funds to the West Bank and the Gaza strip.
Included in the company’s numerous ventures in Palestine is a luxury hotel costing $48 million in Bethlehem, and a Gaza industrial park. However, its most significant contribution has been the establishment of the Palestinian Stock Exchange, founded in 1997 with a charter from President Arafat. Currently, the Nablus-based exchange is managed by a PADICO subsidiary.
In recent years, few foreigners were prepared to risk investments in the Palestinian economy due to prevailing political and security unrest. Nonetheless, in the wake of the Palestinian-Israeli peace accords and the consequential projected investment opportunities, Al-Masri responded to an invitation from Arafat and returned to the region from London to establish the enterprise.
Approximately $150 million was initially raised for the company, with a backing of $1 billion. Each founding investor was limited to a two percent share in the firm. Last year, an exception was made to this rule according to PADICO, and $10 million was accepted from Saudi Prince Walid bin Talal.
Local critics, though, claim that the enterprise is characterized by protectionism and corruption, which will harm the Palestinian people in the long run. Some view the company’s close ties to the Palestinian Authority as another example of unjust concentration of wealth in a community already suffering terribly from financial inequity. So far, though, no evidence of these accusations has been unearthed. –(MENA Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)