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IFC Supports Construction Sector in Iraq, Helping Create Jobs and Economic Growth

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +20 2 2461 423

Kerbala, Iraq, December 27, 2012—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a $70 million loan to help renovate a cement factory in Iraq, part of an effort to support the local building sector and aid in the country’s reconstruction.

The financing will allow Kerbala Cement Manufacturing, a subsidiary of France’s Lafarge, to rehabilitate a state-owned plant near the city of Kerbala. The company will undertake the work under a concession agreement with the government of Iraq. The financing is expected to help bolster Iraq's construction sector, a key source of jobs, and support rebuilding efforts in the country.

“This financing will help address the cement shortage that Iraq is facing and help the country meet supply gaps in its infrastructure,” said Guy Ellena, IFC Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. “It will also play a catalytic role in attracting other foreign investors to Iraq.”

Kerbala Cement is a joint venture between Lafarge and MerchantBridge, a London-based private equity group. The financing is being supplemented by a $20 million loan from Proparco, a development financial institution funded by the French Development Agency and private shareholders.

IFC and Proparco will work with Kerbala Cement to implement an environmental and social strategy, helping align the company with international standards for sustainability. This initiative is part of IFC’s efforts to support the development of Iraq’s private sector. Over the past two years IFC has committed about $500 million in the country, including $245 million in mobilization.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit

About Lafarge
Lafarge is the world leader in building materials, with top-ranking positions in all of its businesses: cement, aggregates and concrete, and gypsum. With 68,000 employees in 64 countries, Lafarge posted sales of €15.3 billion in 2011. Lafarge was ranked sixth in the Carbon Disclosure Project and entered the global Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2010 in recognition of its sustainable development actions. With the world’s leading building materials research facility, Lafarge places innovation at the heart of its priorities, working for sustainable construction and architectural creativity. For more information, please visit:

About MerchantBridge
MerchantBridge is an international private equity and direct investment group focused on the Middle East and Europe regions. It has offices in the United Kingdom, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. MerchantBridge specializes in identifying opportunities across the MENA region and Europe and executing on complex, cross-border opportunities. It completed eight private equity transactions in Europe and the Middle East over the past few years with US$400 million in committed capital and investments with an enterprise value of over $3 billion. For more information, please visit:

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