IFC Invests US$ 24 Million in ASEC Algeria to Create Jobs and Expand Cement Production

The investment is IFC's third to date alongside leading regional private equity firm Citadel Capital

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, today announced that it is investing up to US$ 24 million in ASEC Algeria for the construction of a new cement plant that will create 600 direct and 800 indirect jobs, increase private-sector involvement in the cement sector and help meet growing demand for high-quality cement.

ASEC Algeria is a Portfolio Company of ASEC Cement, a regional cement platform created by leading Middle East and North Africa private equity firm Citadel Capital and a group of regional co-investors. ASEC Cement has stakes in cement plants in Egypt, Algeria and Sudan as well as cement licenses in Syria and Iraq (Kurdistan). As a growing regional production platform, ASEC Cement continues to attract leading international management talent and secure top global partners such as IFC.

IFC’s investment in ASEC Algeria includes an equity investment of up to US$ 24 million. ASEC Algeria’s project, with a total project cost of US$ 550 million, is in Djelfa, one of the least developed regions in Algeria. It will support local small and medium enterprises in sectors such as transportation, maintenance, and general services.

Giorgio Bodo, ASEC Cement’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “This is an important day for us as it marks ASEC Cement’s first agreement with the IFC. We look forward to deepening our partnership in the future on other projects. At the same time, our investment in Djelfa confirms our commitment to Algeria, a country we consider crucial in our strategy.”

The 3.1 million tons per annum plant will supply Algeria’s expanding construction and infrastructure needs. The North African nation continues to ramp up oil and gas production capabilities and increasingly intersects trade routes from Africa to Europe. In July 2009, Algeria is expected to close a US$ 10 billion trans-Sahara pipeline that will link the country to Nigeria, Africa’s most prolific oil and gas producer. The government also began construction in 2005 on the multi-billion dollar East-West Highway, one of the world’s largest public works projects, as part of its infrastructure development plan.

The Djelfa plant will cater to future cement demand as Algeria continues directing rising oil revenues into large-scale development projects. Moreover, a plentiful supply of natural gas and easy access to European markets provide Algeria with significant advantages over countries looking to cater to global demand.

Michael Essex, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “This investment fits with our strategy to increase cross-border investment in the region and assist Algeria diversify its economy. This investment will also help develop the cement sector in the country, and we hope it will have an important demonstrative effect that will encourage other investments in Algeria.”

Among other investments it has made with Citadel Capital, IFC has previously invested US$ 17 million in the Sphinx Turnaround Fund, a US$ 100 million Fund sponsored by Citadel Capital to invest in distressed small and medium-sized enterprises in Egypt’s industrial sector.

Pharos Investment Banking acted as financial advisor to ASEC Cement on this transaction.

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ASEC Cement is a Platform Company for investments in emerging cement markets in the Middle East and North Africa. Created by Citadel Capital and a group of leading co-investors, ASEC Cement is growing into a leading regional cement production group that will have a combined production capacity of approximately 12 million tons per annum in 2012 spanning six countries from Algeria to Iraq-Kurdistan.

Citadel Capital is the leading private equity firm focusing on building regional platform investments throughout the Middle East and Africa in selected industries through acquisitions, turnarounds and greenfields executed via Opportunity Specific Funds. Citadel Capital’s 19 OSFs now control Platform Companies with investments worth more than US$ 8.3 billion in 14 industries, including mining, cement, transportation, food and energy. Since 2004, the firm has returned more than US$ 2.2 billion in cash to investors, more than any other private equity firm in the region.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Ghada Hammouda
Head of Corporate Communications,
Citadel Capital (S.A.E.)

Tel: +20 2 2791-4440 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +20 2 2791-4440      end_of_the_skype_highlighting • Fax: +20 22 791-4448
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