The Jordanian government has awarded the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) a six-month agreement, under which it is to act as consultant on the sale of a 26 percent stake in the Arab Potash Company (APC), slated for privatization by year-end 2002.
The financial group is to complete an evaluation of the company's financial status, negotiate with potential buyers and advise the government on selecting a strategic partner. Several international firms have already expressed interest in acquiring a portion of the government's stake in APC, namely Kali und Salz of Germany, Mitsubishi of Japan and Canada’s Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.
The Jordanian government, which currently controls 52.8 percent of the company’s shares, plans to retain a 26 percent interest in APC, which is considered a strategic producer. With 83 million Jordanian dinars ($117.2 million) in paid-up capital, APC’s shareholders also include the governments of Kuwait and Iraq.
Founded in 1956, APC was given a 100-year exclusive concession from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to extract, manufacture and market the salts and chemicals of the Dead Sea, through its three local subsidiaries.
APC produces 1.8 million tons per year (TPY) fertilizer grade Potassium Chloride (MOP) and 100,000 TPY industrial and pharmaceutical grade Potash. It is currently the fifth largest potash producer in the world, exporting to 30 countries via the port of Aqaba.
In 2001, APC's net profits amounted to JD28.2 million, dropping four percent from the JD29.4 million achieved the previous year. At the same time, the company's total assets rose six percent to JD414.56 million. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )