The Financial Express

Saudi firm to ink deal on largest cement unit

Investment worth $321m likely

| Updated: February 09, 2020 13:37:38

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- Representational image of a cement factory - Representational image of a cement factory

The signing a deal on investment of US$ 321 million by a Saudi firm in the country's largest clinker-cement production facility at Chhatak in Sunamganj is in the final stage, officials concerned said.

Saudi business firm - the Engineering Dimensions (ED) - is likely to sign the agreement this month to set up the plant having a production capacity of 15,000 tonnes of clinker-cement per day, they also said.

The ED will sign the deal with the state-owned Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC), and the plant is likely to be named as Saudi Bangladesh Friendship Cement Company Limited (SBFCCL).

If everything goes as per plan, the cement manufacturing unit will be built on more than 160 acres of land next to the existing state-run Chhatak Cement Factory, they added.

A senior BCIC official said they have almost completed draft of the agreement, excepting a few points, which need to be agreed upon by both parties.

According to him, the Saudi company was in favour of giving 20 per cent share to the Bangladesh government, but the latter wants more than that.

"We're hopeful of reaching a win-win solution soon in this regard, as the Saudi firm wants to end the formalities as quick as possible. We're planning to complete (signing) the agreement within this month," he added.

When contacted, BCIC Chairman Haiul Quaium said signing the accord regarding the KSA's investment proposal is in the final stage, as all the formalities are almost done.

"This ($321 million) could be one of the major Saudi investments in Bangladesh."

He also said they are now implementing a project involving Tk 8.91 billion to convert the decade-old Chhatak Cement Factory into a dry-processing cement making unit from the existing wet-processing one.

A Nanjing-based company - C-HOPE Cement Engineering Group - is officially assigned for reviving the ailing factory using an environment-friendly, energy-efficient and cost-effective technology, he said.

"The KSA-invested mega factory will be built next to the Chhatak Cement Factory," he added.

Sources at BCIC said the Saudi firm will require 163 acres of land for building the cement production base. The BCIC will give it around 133 acres, while the remaining land will be bought by the company.

The proposed factory will produce 12,000 tonnes of clinker and 3,000 tonnes of cement a day, and its clinker can be commercially marketed locally and globally.

Commerce Secretary Abdul Halim said the KSA is one of the best development partners of the country, and the partnership with ED is an outcome of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's recent visit to the country.

With implementing the project, Bangladesh will prove itself as a fertile destination of investment to the world, he added.

The ED has recently started implementing a $ 35-million project at the state-owned General Electric Manufacturing Company Limited (GEMCO) in Chattogram for producing transformers and other electrical devices.

The KSA-based company will further expand the project at GEMCO on successful implementation of its initial phase.

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