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Five bid for $500 mln Iraq cement deals

Czech and Romanian firm are among at least five companies vying to renovate cement plants in Iraq at a cost of $500 million, Iraq’s industry minister said on Wednesday.

France’s Lafarge and Danish engineering group FLSmidth, Egypt’s Orascom Construction Industries and a Czech and Romanian firm are also bidding for the contracts for three plants, the first of 16 that strife-torn Iraq is offering to foreign investors, Fawzi Hariri told Reuters on the sidelines of an Iraq reconstruction conference in Dubai. “They will invest to rehabilitate the plants and then they will get a share of the profits,” Hariri said. The three plants are in each of the provinces of Kerbala, Muthana and Kirkuk, Hariri said. The Ministry of Industry has also received proposals to build a cement plant in each of Kerbala and Muthana with a combined capacity of at least 1.5 million tons a year, Hariri said.

The ministry owns 60 companies with 240 factories in sectors ranging from construction to pharmaceuticals and textiles. It is hoping to attract as much as $2 billion of private investment into Iraq's cement, iron, steel and fertilizer industries this year, he said. “By the end of the year we hope to have all of Iraq’s state-owned enterprises available for joint ventures with the private sector,” Hariri said. (