Iraq seeks funding for Faw container port project

Government plans to sell shares in company behind the project

PHOTO: Iraqi officials are looking for an international partner for the Faw terminal. (File photo) Credit: Shutterstock

Iraq has announced plans to raise funds for the construction of the Faw container port terminal on the Arabian Gulf by selling shares in the company behind the project, government officials have said.

In a Reuters news report, the head of the provincial council, Sabah al-Bazoni said that officials plan to create a company – Basra Holding Co – that will own 51% of the project in the state’s southern province of Faw. The plan is to sell shares in the firm to help raise approximately $1.4 billion, which will be needed for the first phase, al-Bazoni explained.

The container terminal has been planned for many years, but has suffered numerous delays. However, following the rise of the Islamic State insurgency, the project has taken increased urgency as it has been difficult to move supplies by land to and from neighbouring countries.

Oil sales generate 95% of Iraq’s revenue and the drop in oil prices has seen its finances severely disrupted, with crude prices having more than halved since June 2014.

Al-Bazoni added that government officials had not yet decided if the holding company was to be listed on the Baghdad bourse, or if the shares should be sold in private transactions. The sale would first be open to residents of Basra province, and then to the rest of the Iraqi population, he added. However, he did not specify a timeframe or how many shares would be sold.

According to al-Bazoni and Asaad Abdul Raheem, the project director, Iraqi officials are looking for an international partner for the terminal. The partner will have a 49% stake in the project, and also carry out construction work.

The plan is to have the partner operate the terminal for 30 to 40 years, under Iraq’s plan and thereby recouping investment and making a profit. The partner would then relinquish its stake to the Basra council, the duo added.


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