Libyan and Gulf investors acquire largest eastern Libyan cement maker, the Libyan Cement Company (LCC).
Reuters reported that investors have a positive view of Libya’s future and are betting on a boom in the construction industry, with sights set on rebuilding Libya once fighting abates in the country.
Libya rarely attracts investment since much of the country is a battlefield involving two rival governments and parliaments and a slew of former rebel factions who helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but now fight each other.
LCC has three plants in Eastern Libya: two in the main eastern city of Benghazi which is largely a war zone, and a third near Derna, an islamist radical hot spot. Only the Derna plant is operational, and according to Halim it produces 300,000 tonnes of cement annually – just a fraction of its three million tonne capacity.
According to Ahmed Ben Halim, chief executive of LHG, said the majority stake in LCC as acquired from Austria’s QuadraCir Group cost the company “tens of millions” of euros.
“We are betting on a shortage of cement in Libya needed for a reconstruction of the country,” said Halim, son of a former prime minister. “People might call us crazy but we have a positive long-term view of Libya.” Libya mostly imports its cement needs.
The identities of co-investors were not revealed, but they are known to include investors from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, among them a stock market-listed industrial group.
Reuters reported that the new owners planned to invest more than €50 million (Dh201 million) in the three plants to boost total capacity by 25 per cent, but money would flow only once Libya saw some stability.