Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Citadel Capital Secures Loan to Develop Sorghum Plantation in Sudan

By Mahmoud Kassem - Aug 1, 2010

Citadel Capital Corp., an Egyptian private-equity firm with $8.3 billion in investments, said one of its companies received a $4.9 million loan from Bank of Khartoum for the plantation of land in Sudan.

Sabena Solutions Ltd., in which Cairo-based Citadel Capital has a 21 percent stake, borrowed the money to plant 2,000 feddan (2,076 acres) of land with sorghum, according to a regulatory filing today.

Sudan wants to attract foreign investors to cultivate large tracts of land that are currently unused in Africa’s largest country. Arab countries such as Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have started to invest in Sudanese farmland as their own agricultural industries fail to keep pace with their rising populations.

The Shariah-compliant Islamic banking loan includes a six- year so-called musharaka loan to finance repairs and maintenance, a $3.2 million murabaha loan to finance working capital for seeds, fertilizers and chemicals, and a $1.2 million five-year mukawala loan for consulting contracts and some infrastructure work, the statement said.

Sabina will cultivate a total of 125,000 feddan in Sudan, Citadel said. The company has leased about 250,000 feddan that can be renewed on a 30-year basis, it said.

Shares of Citadel Capital gained 1.5 percent as of 2:11 p.m. in Cairo, valuing the company at 4.49 billion Egyptian pounds ($790 million).