fund adviser merchantbridge has raised $50m for construction fund
MerchantBridge has raised around $50m in the first tranche of a five-year direct investment fund that invests in businesses manufacturing and supplying construction materials in Iraq.
The Cayman-domiciled Iraq Construction Materials Fund intends to target companies in sub-sectors where supplies have been limited or have been uneconomical to import.
Four projects to be launched are ready mixed concrete, industrial paint and coatings, engineered steel structures and fabrication, and plastic pipes.
MerchantBridge is adviser to the fund. The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, will consider medium-term loans to the individual projects of the fund on a case by case basis.
Each of the fund's investments is matched with an industry partner who has substantial expertise in the relevant industry. The partner will co-invest and provide technical know-how and day-to-day management and operating resources.
A spokesperson from MerchantBridge, said: "Iraq needs every conceivable type of goods and services to revive its economy and regain its former leadership role as the hub of the Middle East's economic region. Corporates from neighbouring countries have been the first to invest in us."
Out of the $50m around $20m has been from a variety of investors in Iraq and the Middle East and North Africa region.
MerchantBridge has established an office in Baghdad for the fund. It also has offices in Bahrain and London as well as strategic alliances with international partners in Europe, the US and Australia.
In February 2004, MerchantBridge was the main adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Industry and Minerals for their Lease of Industrial Factories Programme.
The first phase of the programme involved 35 factories in food and pharmaceuticals, construction materials and engineering, chemicals and textiles.
Over 100 bids were received and processed with advice from MerchantBridge. This programme was the first step involving the private sector, as the local economy was dominated by the state under the previous regime.
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