Up to 240 major Iraqi factories will be opened up for foreign investors, it was revealed yesterday.
The firms, making the backbone of the Iraqi industry, are in urgent need of investment and rehabilitation, the costs of which the country can no longer afford.
“The Ministry of Industry and Minerals seeks to offer 240 factories for foreign investment in the forthcoming five years,” an official statement said.
The statement, quoting Industry and Minerals Ministry Undersecretary Adel Kareem, said: “Iraq is willing to open up the factories for foreign investors in a manner that will lead to strategic participation with international firms.”
Kareem said foreign investors will be allowed to have up to 50% stake in these factories.
Most of the firms on offer are working much below capacity.
A consortium of French investors has agreed to spend up to $164 million on the Karbala cement factory.
The factory, built in the 1980s, was designed to produce two million tons of cement a year.
Kareem said his ministry spent more than $1 billion on rehabilitating Iraqi factories and that $540 million will spent this year.
The factories which are up for grabs belong to major sectors such as construction materials, petrochemicals, cement, food and textiles.