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Jul 07 2013

Govt plans to buy Brunei firm's stake in phosphate company

By Omar Obeidat

AMMAN -- The government plans to purchase the stake of Brunei-based Kamil Holdings Limited at the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company ( JPMC ), a government official told The Jordan Times Saturday.

The official, who preferred to remain unnamed, said the government intends to increase its presence in large strategic companies, particularly in the mining sector.

The government official did not give details whether authorities have started talks with Kamil Holdings Limited, which owns 37 per cent, or 27.7 million shares, of the total 75 million shares of JPMC .

Kamil Holdings is the largest shareholder in the JPMC , followed by the Finance Ministry with 26.2 per cent and the Social Security Investment Fund with 16 per cent.

The privatisation of the phosphate company in 2006 has been criticised by the public and opposition groups over alleged illegalities.

Last month, the company's former CEO Walid Kurdi was sentenced by an Amman court to 37.5 years imprisonment with hard labour on charges of "abuse of office" and embezzlement.

Kurdi, who was tried in absentia as he reportedly lives in London currently, has also to pay approximately JD285 million in fees and fines.

Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani told The Jordan News Agency, Petra, that the attorney general's office will address the Lands and Survey Department and local banks to implement the seizure of any funds and assets he might have to cover the fines and fees decided by the court.

The JPMC was incorporated into a public shareholding company in 1953. It operates three mining locations across the central and southern parts of Jordan: Al Hassa, Al Abiad and Eshidiya mines. The estimated reserves of phosphate rock in the three mines are 1.47 billion tonnes.

The JPMC produces up to seven million tonnes a year of rock, making it the world's sixth largest phosphate rock producer and the second largest exporter.

© Jordan Times 2013


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