Investing in North Korea…

Noticed in today’s Wall Street Journal that Orascom Construction Industries S.A.E. of Cairo is going to invest US$115 million in a North Korean cement plant. Realize there have been private initiatives in the past (a Chinese developer’s plan to build an industrial park near the border with China, and Hyundai Asan Co. efforts to build a tourist resort and industrial park) that have met with lukewarm results at best, but what was most interesting was the following:

“…But in working with a unit of the North Korean government, Mr. Sawiris said, Orascom Construction forged a Western-style shareholders agreement with governance and technical-control assurances, and it even won permission to bring in personnel from the U.S. if needed. “With their aspirations in several sectors of the economy, we believe the mind-set there is ready for more of this” type of deal, he said….”

Wonder what this agreement actually looks like and in which jurisdiction arbitration or disputes might be settled in?

Also, given that Orascom Construction “…owns and operates cement plants in Egypt, Algeria, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq and Spain that have a combined annual production capacity of 21 million metric tons” and says “… new investments in several of those countries plus Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Syria will increase its capacity to 39 million metric tons a year.” it seems that we should keep an eye on this firm. After all, the Sawiris are one of Egypt’s most-prominent business families and their telecommunications business has been extremely successful in difficult markets around the world.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 16th, 2007 at 9:46 am and is filed under Egypt, North Korea, Orascom Construction Industries.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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Wildcats & Black Sheep is a personal interest blog dedicated to the identification and evaluation of maverick investment opportunities arising in frontier - and, what some may consider to be, “rogue” or “black sheep” - markets around the world.

Focusing primarily on The New Seven Sisters - the largely state owned petroleum companies from the emerging world that have become key players in the oil & gas industry as identified by Carola Hoyos, Chief Energy Correspondent for The Financial Times - but spanning other nascent opportunities around the globe that may hold potential in the years ahead, Wildcats & Black Sheep is a place for the adventurous to contemplate & evaluate the emerging markets of tomorrow.