NRTC Secures Loan to Finance Fleet Construction

An EGP 325 million syndicated loan will partially finance the construction of a fleet of state-of-the-art Nile River barges

National River Transportation Company (NRTC), one of Citadel Capital’s transportation and logistics Platform Companies, announced today it has obtained an EGP 325 million syndicated loan to assist in the financing of part of its planned fleet of over 90 state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly river transport barges.

Banque Misr is lead arranger and facility agent and is providing EGP 122 million of the package. It is joined by Arab African International Bank as lead arranger and security agent (EGP 108 million) and the Bank of Alexandria as lead arranger (EGP 95 million).

“This financing package is an important step for NRTC, which is building the nation’s first end-to-end transportation and logistics network centered around the Nile,” said Hisham El-Khazindar, Citadel Capital’s Managing Director and Co-Founder. “Egypt is heavily dependent on road transport, with more than 95% of all goods in the country being transported by truck, which places a heavy burden on the infrastructure of roads and highways. Comparatively, the volume of river transport currently accounts for less than 1% of total goods transported, despite it being more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly.”

The seven-year loan will be used to finance 24 of the more than 90 barges NRTC will eventually operate. Each vessel can handle containers, dry bulk or general cargo. The full fleet will be capable of transporting over 10 million tons of goods per year along the Nile by 2013. NRTC has signed two three-year contracts worth a combined EGP 560 million with Alexandria Shipyard and Arab Contractors for the construction of 62 barges with a capacity of 1,500 to 1,600 tons each. The first of the new barges presently under construction are scheduled to come into service at the beginning of 2010. The company is already serving a number of customers with a fleet of 30 refurbished barges.

“Citadel Capital and its Platform Companies have proven track records of working with leading national and regional banks across the product spectrum,” said Citadel Capital Managing Director Ahmed El-Houssieny. “Banque Misr, AAIB and the Bank of Alexandria delve deep into the business plans of their clients before making a commitment, and each of them came away from this process as fundamental believers in the opportunity at hand. It’s a great endorsement for this investment in NRTC.”

NRTC’s world-class management team is supported by local and international consultants including some of Europe’s leading experts in river transport, such as the Netherlands’ Royal Haskoning and Ship Design Group (SDG), a designer with extensive experience in barge design and construction.

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National River Transportation Company (NRTC) is one of Citadel Capital’s Platform Companies in the transportation and logistics sector, which collectively have a combined capital of US$ 80 million. NRTC is implementing plans to build and operate a fleet of over 90 state of-the-art, fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly river barges that will be capable of transporting up to 10 million tons of goods along the Nile each year by 2013.

Citadel Capital is the leading private equity firm in the Middle East and North Africa. The firm focuses on building regional platform investments 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.

For more information, please contact:

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

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