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French Version

Business Scene

JORDAN (Star) - * Approximately 26 % of the government's shares in the Arab Potash Co (APC) are scheduled for sale later this year. Adel Qudah, head of the Privatization Executive Committee, said the shares will be sold in August to "strategic partners," as part of the government's plan to re-structure the company.

Presently the government is negotiating with three possible partners-to-be to sell them half their APC shareholdings. APC earned JD 28.2 million in net profits last year and an additional JD 148 million in trade revenues. Earlier the government endorsed the privatization plan of Jordan Phosphate Mines Co (JPMC), parceling out 26 % of the government's 65.6 % in the company's shares. The JPMC earned JD 4 million in profit last year.
* Jordan's mineral production increased in January by 17.5 %. Government statistics indicate the highest production was in phosphate at 29.5 % of the total with a production of 208,000 tons. Cement products are next at 18.5 % and potash with 4.8 %. Government sources have stemmed rumors of potential mineral product price hikes due to the recent rise in fuel prices, saying such increases will not be allowed for a 100 fils increase.

* Iraq remains Jordan's largest importer receiving 13 % of the Kingdom's overall exports. India is next with 11 % followed by the European Union with 5 percent. Arab countries, as a whole, receive more than 40 percent of Jordan's exports. The NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) countries reduced their imports from Jordan last year to 8 %. US exports to Jordan declined in 2001 by JD 42 million to JD 280 million.

* The Jordan Post Co was registered at the Ministry of Trade and Industry last week as a shareholding company of JD 14.5 million. It is owned completely by the government. The government later appointed a new five-member board of directors. The procedure is a pre-privatization step aimed to open the door for local and foreign investors to buy company shares.

* A $55.4 million loan was provided to Egypt to build a gas pipeline with Jordan. The loan, granted by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, will aid in the development of the gas pipeline, worth an estimated $300 million. The pipeline will be financed by loans from different Arab financial institutions. Part of the pipeline will be built under the sea, linking Egypt's Al Arish port with Aqaba in Jordan. The pipeline is scheduled to begin operation in 2004.

* The government has allotted JD 35 million for its National Training Project, expected to be launch later this year. The project aims to train and rehabilitate more than 12,000 people to meet the local market demand of qualified cadres. The project was launched earlier this year to cut the rate of unemployment and poverty in the Kingdom.

* Jordan has signed an agreement with Japan to rehabilitate the monitoring system of water pollution in the Kingdom. The JD 4.6 million deal will provide 13 inspection points along the Yarmouk River, Jordan River and King Abdallah Reservoir to monitor pollution levels. These sources furnish the Kingdom with more than half of its water supplies. Japanese and Jordanian water experts, using advanced technology, will implement the agreement jointly.

* Dar Al Dawa' for Development and Investment Co increased its profits last year 16 % to JD 5.2 million. The company sold goods worth JD 24 million, an 8.5 % increase over 2000. Its board of directors approved dividends of 25 % of the company's capital--estimated at JD 12 million.

The Star redaction
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