Citadel’s green transport platform attracts $21 mln investment

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CAIRO: The German development finance institution DEG and the European Investment Bank (EIB) will jointly invest $21 million in the fund controlling private equity firm Citadel Capital’s river transport investments.

DEG has contributed $14 million while EIB has invested a further $7 million, for a combined 19 percent ownership of the fund, with the balance held by Nile Logistics (69 percent) and Banque Misr (12 percent), the firm said in a statement.

Citadel said the money will be pumped into the Citadel Capital Transport Opportunities II (CCTO II) fund, which controls barge operator Nile Cargo and the National River Port Management Company (NRPMC).

These operate “an environmentally-friendly network of ports and…fuel efficient barges” in Egypt. Both fall under the umbrella of NMT, Citadel Capital’s holding company for investments in Egypt’s logistics and river transportation sector.

Citadel’s river transport investments in Sudan fall under the Nile Logistics Platform Company, which in turn is a shareholder in CCTO II.

“NMT will use this infusion of equity to rapidly scale-up its operations, building additional barges and procuring new handling equipment for its ports,” said Citadel Capital Managing Director and Co-Founder Hisham El-Khazindar.

“To accelerate the build-out of our new fleet, NMT will be commissioning barges at both local and international shipyards going forward,” he said.

Nile Cargo has 31 reconditioned 50-meter barges and four custom-designed 100-meter barges (each with a capacity of 1,500 tons) presently in service. The company’s goal is to have an additional three pushers and six dumb barges in service by the beginning of 2012 and a further 10-18 pushers and barges by the end of that year.

“NMT is already serving the national market for bulk and container goods under long-term contracts to transport strategic goods, including wheat, coke and raw materials for the steel industry.

“In addition, the company has a number of contracts with private sector to transport cement, marble, calcium carbonate and phosphate rocks,” said Maged Farag, chairman of NMT.

“This is a valuable step to further strengthen the Egyptian logistics industry by offering alternative domestic freight routes while taking traffic off Egyptian roads,” said Christoph Evard, leading DEG’s equity team on this transaction.

“The DEG and EIB always make careful investment decisions. We take their decision to invest today as a clear validation of the importance of river transportation … to the Egyptian economy at large,” said Ahmed Heikal, chairman and founder of Citadel Capital.

“These investments typify the type of pro-environment, job-creating ventures that we are keen to support,” said Claudio Cortese, deputy director general of Operations Outside of the EU for the EIB.

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