Teknik awarded contract for renovation
Iraq has awarded Turkey's Teknik a contract to renovate a cement factory as part of plans to rehabilitate its dilapidated state industries after years of wars and sanctions. Adel Karim, a deputy minister of industry and minerals, said the factory in Samawa, 230 km (140 miles) south of Baghdad, was set up in the 1980s and designed to produce 2 million tonnes of cement annually. It currently produces just 20 per cent of that. The Turkish company, which has an Iraqi partner, needs to spend around $110 million to reach 90 per cent of its designed capacity in 36 months. Iraq is trying to shake off the legacy of years of violence, sanctions and economic decline by opening up its financial and industrial sectors and luring foreign investment and expertise to help it rebuild. Karim said the company will have a 73 per cent share of production at the plant with the remaining going to the ministry in the 15-year contract. The ministry has placed a condition on the Samawa contract that the Turkish and Iraqi partners keep all Iraqi staff currently employed at the state-owned factory. The ministry is seeking joint ventures with foreign companies in an attempt to protect Iraqi state employees at its factories and saving them from dismissal. The ministry has so far managed to attract seven local and foreign investors into the rehabilitation process. Lafarge , a pioneer of investment in Iraq, already has cement plants in semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan. In 2010, it began a $200 million renovation of a Kerbala cement plant.