SOURCE: Orascom Construction Industries

April 17, 2008 06:40 ET

Orascom Construction Industries announces OCI/Sonatrach Sorfert Loan

Cairo--(Marketwire - April 17, 2008) -

                                            Cairo, Egypt / April 15, 2008

OCI/Sonatrach JV Concludes Loan Agreement for Fertilizer Project in Algeria and Signs EPC Contract

Orascom Construction Industries ("OCI") announced today that Sorfert Algeria ("Sorfert"), a 51/49 joint venture between OCI and the Algerian state-owned oil & gas company Sonatrach ("Sonatrach"), has entered into a formal loan agreement with leading Algerian banks for a project finance debt facility totaling the equivalent of approximately EUR 1.1 billion in Algerian dinar. The loan will be used to finance the construction of Sorfert's state-of-the-art nitrogen-based fertilizer production complex in northwest Algeria.

Sonatrach is the national oil & gas company of Algeria, wholly owned by the Government. It is one of the world's largest exporters of natural gas in its various forms and is Africa's largest oil & gas company.

The loan has a tenor of 15 years including an approximately 3-year grace period including the construction period. The arranger and agent bank is Banque Exterieure d'Algerie. Participant banks in the syndication include Banque Exterieure d'Algerie, Banque Nationale d'Algerie, CNEP Banque, Banque de Developpement Local, and Credit Populaire d'Algerie.

The complex will consist of an ammonia / granulated urea plant with a capacity of up to 1.2 million tonnes per year and a second ammonia plant with a capacity of 0.8 million tonnes per year to be located in the industrial zone of Arzew near several major Algerian ports on the Mediterranean Sea. Sorfert is set to become one of the largest fertilizer exporters on the Mediterranean. The plant is scheduled to start commissioning its first production plant during the second half of 2010.

Sorfert also entered into an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with Uhde GmbH and OCI Algeria (OCI's wholly owned construction subsidiary) in continuation to the Early Works Agreement signed on 23 June 2007. UHDE has already concluded procurement of 80% of the critical and long lead items. Furthermore construction works on the site is already underway since last year. Uhde is a world leader in the field of urea production technology. OCI has partnered with Udhe on several projects in the past including the construction of two urea production lines for Egyptian Fertilizer Company (EFC), a recently acquired wholly owned subsidiary to OCI.

The signature ceremony for both the loan agreements and the EPC contract was held yesterday in the capital Algiers. The ceremony was attended by His Excellency Chakib Khalil, Minister for Energy and Mr. Mohamed Loukal, the President of Banque Exterieure D'Algerie. Also attending the ceremony were high profile officers from Sonatrach including Mr. Mohammed Meziane, the President of Sonatrach, Dr. Faghouli Vice President of Sonatrach's Downstream Activities (AVAL), and officers from OCI and Uhde.

OCI Chief Executive Officer, Nassef Sawiris commented "we are extremely proud of the progress we have achieved together with Sonatrach in this landmark Algerian project. With global demand for fertilizers on the rise, we hope to play an important role in international trade."

White & Case is the acting legal counsel for Sorfert on this loan agreement.

For additional information contact:

OCI Investor Relations Department:   For additional information on OCI:

Investor.relations@orascomci.com     Orascom Construction Industries (OCI)
                                     Nile City Towers - South Tower
Hassan H. Badrawi                    2005A Corniche El Nil
Email hassan.badrawi@orascomci.com   Cairo, Egypt

Omar Darwazah                        www.orascomci.com
Email: omar.darwazah@orascomci.com

Ahmed Sultan                         OCI stock symbols: 
Email: ahmed.sultan@orascomci.com    OCIC.CA / ORCI EY / OCICqL / ORSD
Tel: +202 24611036/0727/0914
Fax: +202 2461 9409


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