October 20, 2016 / 4:37 PM / 3 years ago

Morocco's OCP to build fertiliser unit in Rwanda

RABAT, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Morocco’s Office Cherifien de Phosphate (OCP), the world’s leading phosphate exporter, will build a blending unit in Rwanda to produce fertilisers adapted to local soils, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Moroccan large companies, including banks and insurers, have been investing aggressively in Sub-Saharan Africa. OCP has already signed agreements with governments and firms there.

OCP started production last February in a new fertiliser plant dedicated to the African market, in which it invested 5.3 billion dirhams ($537 million). The plant is located in the Jorf Lasfar area, on the Atlantic coast.

The Rwanda agreement was signed during a visit to the country by the Moroccan king by officials from OCP and the Rwandan ministry of agriculture.

The company declined to say how much it is planning to invest in the plant, and what will be the production capacity.

The company is building three other units in the Jorf Lasfar hub with a capacity to produce 1 million tonnes of fertiliser each, it has said.

OCP, a major earner of foreign currency for Morocco, reported a 23.2 percent fall in first-half net profit to 3.07 billion dirhams ($317 million) due to low prices in the international markets.

It has invested heavily and made a series of acquisitions to improve its infrastructure and boost its output. It aims to raise output to 47 million tonnes of crude phosphate rock in 2017, from around 34 million tonnes in 2013.

It is also targeting an increase in fertiliser production to 12 million tonnes by 2017 from 7 million in 2014, which would make it the world’s leading producer.

Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi, editing by David Evans

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