Washington D.C., July 1, 2002—The International
Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has
signed an agreement to invest US$5 million in Middle East Regional Development
Enterprises (MEREN) to help establish a silica sand manufacturing plant
in the south of Jordan. The $15 million project, which will export
its products mainly to Europe and the Gulf region, will help improve Jordan’s
export competitiveness and will generate much-needed foreign currency earnings.
MEREN, with an installed annual capacity of 530,000 tons, is designed to
manufacture different grades of sand for the flat glass and clear glass
container industry, crystal and tableware industry, ceramics, paint and
rubber industries, and oil and gas extraction industry. In addition
to the 40 jobs created by the new plant, it is expected that approximately
300 jobs will be created in the transport, storage and handling, and mining
sectors that will support MEREN’s silica sand operation.
“Jordan has a natural advantage in the silica sand sector,” said Sami
Haddad, IFC Director for Middle East and North Africa. “The creation
of MEREN will help promote an internationally competitive Jordanian private
enterprise and stimulate the establishment of new downstream industries
in Jordan such as glass and ceramics manufacturing. It fits in with
IFC’s long-term goal of helping Jordan build a strong export-oriented
manufacturing base as a key factor in the country’s economic growth,”
The IFC investment in MEREN will comprise an equity investment of $600,000
and a loan of $4.4 million.
MEREN’s main shareholders are well established businessmen from Jordan
and the Gulf: Mr. Riad Sadik, Managing Partner
of Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises
based in Dubai; Mr. Hamid Jafar, the owner and Chairman of Crescent Petroleum
Company International, Sharjah, Managing Director of Intoil Bahrain and
the Chairman of Gulftainer Co. Ltd., Sharjah; and Mr. Hassan Mango, Director
of Hamdi & Ibrahim Mango Company based in Amman, with interests in
banking, trade and manufacturing.
MEREN’s technical partner is Outokumpu Finland, the world’s leading group
active in metal and mineral related technologies. Outokumpu will
ensure transfer of state of the art technology and provide know-how and
training to the local staff.
IFC’s mission is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing
countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC
finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes
capital in the international financial markets, and provides technical
assistance and advice to governments and businesses. Since its founding
in 1956, IFC has committed more than $31 billion of its own funds and arranged
$20 billion in syndications for 2,636 companies in 140 developing countries.
IFC’s committed portfolio at the end of FY01 was $14.3 billion.