Beirut: Cedar Oxygen (Cedar O2), a Luxembourg domiciled, economic recovery platform for Lebanon, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI), the national association representing industrialists in Lebanon, to offer financing and financial services to Lebanese Industrialists. In a ceremony held at the ALI headquarters the MOU was signed opening several avenues of cooperation and allowing industrialists opportunities to survive and flourish, in a time they are most in need of trade & supply chain finance facilities to import necessary raw materials and export finished products.

Both parties agreed to collaborate on several avenues including: matching industrialists with suitable financing solutions, sharing of market intelligence and data, mutual support in communication & marketing within the umbrella of promoting the “Made in Lebanon” initiative and the navigation of Economic, Social, and Governance challenges.  

Beyond offering financing to industrialists, Cedar O2 and ALI aim together to make a real impact by supporting Lebanon’s economy recovery by increasing the sector contribution to GDP.

Founded by expat Lebanese business leaders, Cedar Oxygen is seeking, with the help of international DFIs, to address the US$2bn short-term finance shortfall faced by Lebanese manufacturers and industrialists. Cedar O2 is actively reviving and digitalizing trade finance in Lebanon, and thus set-up a fintech platform for financing credit-worthy industrialists. It will make finance available to net exporters, net importers and to those who solely import goods; and assure that fair access be afforded to all types of Lebanese industrialists/manufacturers. 

Alexandre J. Harkous, Chairman & Managing Partner of Cedar Oxygen said: “We could not watch from afar and sit idle knowing that our financial expertise could save jobs, families, companies and contribute to easing the pressure due to the crisis in Lebanon. We initiated the world’s most critical impact investment opportunity as a private initiative with the hope to work closely with international DFIs. Transparency, Trust, Sustainability, Corporate Governance and Resilience are the key foundations of our mission”. 

Since inception, with the critical support of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, Cedar O2 has developed a partnership with Lebanese industrialists conducting needs assessment, extensive due diligence on financial requirements, export capabilities as well as market dynamics given the current crisis.

Dr. Fady Gemayel, President of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists said: “In these difficult times, we all can help and we need to cooperate together. Industrialists can provide many of the needs of the Lebanese citizens with the expertise and quality of what we produce, further more we are an engine to export and bring jobs and hard currency to Lebanon. Our partnership with Cedar Oxygen will provide a breath of fresh air and will create a social, economic and financial impact in Lebanon all in the right direction, thus our partnership is for the benefit of all those involved particularly the industrialists.”

Cedar Oxygen secured a $175 million as an anchor investment and is now seeking additional investment from DFIs (Development Finance Institutions) and other impact-focused institutions, the successful partnership with industrialists will allow the Cedar O2 initiative to gain economies of scale thus attracting more investors to plug in the $2Billion dollar gap created due to the current financial crisis and that is required by industrialists manufacture at capacity and export.

Lebanon has 4,700 industrial firms generating around 14% of GDP and one of the biggest employers in the country. Industrialists account for 93% of Lebanese exports, generating around $3.17 billion in finished goods sales per annum.  In addition, the sector accounts for around $1.8 billion in raw material imports into Lebanon. With a well-financed industry Lebanon will be able to increase exports and supply local demand in a sustainable manner thus limiting the impact of the crisis on the economy and the country.

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