UK to provide $1.6 billion in funding to Carbon Holdings’ Tahrir plant
The UK will be providing Carbon Holdings’ Tahrir Petrochemicals Corporation with “an unprecedented” USD 1.6 billion financing package through UK Export Finance, the country’s export credit agency, UK Minister of Investment Graham Stuart told us in an interview in Cairo yesterday.
TPC could help double Egypt’s total exports, catalyze industrial growth: “We are excited about Egypt developing its downstream capabilities and supportive of the aspiration that the plant could help double total Egyptian exports,” he said, adding that the project will not only create jobs, but could also serve as a “catalyst for the development of more manufacturing and other labor intensive activities.” The UK government is in the “closing stages” for the financing, he also said. Carbon Holdings had said last month it was planning to reach financial close on the nearly USD 11 billion project by year’s end. The outfit is covering 26% of the plant’s cost with equity commitments, with the remainder of the finding package taking the form of loans backed by development finance institutions from countries including the UK, United States and Germany, the company said at the time.
Show of confidence in Egypt: The financing package for TPC is a “show of confidence” in Egypt and its reform program from its “top foreign direct investor,” Stuart said, adding that UK investments round off to 41% of Egypt’s total FDI inflows.
On oil and gas, a traditional strength for the UK in Egypt, companies including Shell and BP are already well established in the local market, Stuart said. The minister met with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla yesterday, according to Al Masry Al Youm. El Molla directed UK investors to new tenders out for oil and gas exploration and plans underway to turn Egypt into a hub for natural gas exports, particularly to Europe.