Saudi Coral to expand Moroccan refinery

A subsidiary of the Sweden-based Saudi Coral Group said it would invest $600 million over the next 4 years to expand the Al Muhammadiyah refinery in Morocco.


RABAT, MOROCCO�A subsidiary of the Sweden-based Saudi Coral Group said it would invest $600 million over the next 4 years to expand the Al Muhammadiyah refinery in Morocco.

Abdel Rafee Manjour, director general of Saudi Coral subsidiary La Samir, said his company would contribute 50% to the project from its own resources and would borrow $300 million from international markets.

The expansion would add 2.5 million tonnes/year of processing capacity to the refinery. The Saudi-owned Al Hayat newspaper quoted Manjour as saying that La Samir would offer tenders in September to build four new units at the refinery.

Meanwhile, Jamal ba Amer, a director of Coral, told the newspaper that the company made a net profit of $350 million since it entered the Moroccan market in 1997.

Coral bought La Samir in 1997 for $420 million. The new company, whose market value was more than $700 million last year, made a net profit of $97 million in 1999.

The paper also quoted Moroccan Minister of Energy Yousef Altaheri as saying that more than $3 billion was expected to be invested in Morocco's energy sector over the next few years. This is equivalent to 15% of total investments expected in the 5-year development plan covering 2000-04.

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