BBK, Bahrain’s pioneer in retail and commercial banking, along with BMI Bank, a Bahraini retail and commercial banking institution through its Islamic Banking Division, recently signed an agreement to provide a syndicated Murabaha financing facility for Bahrain based Arabian Sugar Company amounting to BHD 18 million. As part of the agreement, BBK will be acting as the facility agent bank whilst BMI Bank would be the security agent, documentation bank and investment agent for the facility. The agreement was signed at a ceremony held on May 7th 2012 at BBK’s headquarters in Manama.
Arabian Sugar Company will be a computerised, state-of-the-art sugar refinery. When the first phase of the project is fully operational the facility will produce over 600,000 tons of high quality sugar per annum. The project aims to supply the Bahraini and GCC markets. This is an important food security project for Bahrain and one which is fully in line with the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision. It will provide a secure source of sugar as well as ensuring price stability for this important commodity.
The project will create 140 new jobs, of which the majority will be for Bahrainis. A specialised training programme has already been devised by Arabian Sugar Company which will allow the company to increase its jobs for Bahrainis as they take over more senior positions within a specific time frame.
Raw sugar for the plant will be transported by a fleet of specially adapted barges which will be unloaded at the plant’s own private jetty. The refining process which will be used in the new plant will enable the highest quality of sugar to be produced. Sugar is a commodity which is much in demand across the GCC region and also by global food giants such as Pepsi, Coca Cola, Kraft Foods and many others.
Commenting on reaching agreement to provide these credit facilities, Mr. Abdulkarim Bucheery, BBK’s Chief Executive, said: “We are very pleased to have signed this agreement along with BMI Bank to provide a significant credit facility to Arabian Sugar Company. This project is a very important one for the Kingdom of Bahrain. Not only will it create a significant number of new jobs for Bahrainis but it will also take the Kingdom further down the path of being able to provide food security for its citizens. BBK, as one of the leading banks in the region, is keen to play a major role in funding Bahrain’s industrial development projects. We wish the management and employees of Arabian Sugar Company every success in developing their business and achieving further growth.”
Signing the agreement, Mr. Eyad Satter General Manager Support Services at BMI Bank said: “Sugar is the world’s predominant sweetener and is undeniably an important part of today’s worldwide human food balance diet. Global sugar consumption has continued to increase despite the continuing economic difficulties in many developed countries. Additionally rapid economic growth and urbanization trends have promoted the industrial use of sugar in food manufacture and preparations. As a result, the world has been witnessing a gradual increase in sales of white sugar by some traditional sugar exporters as well as from new destination refineries in the Middle East and Africa.”
He added: “As a responsible local Bank we are committed to address and support socially and environmentally sustainable business practices in an effort to enhance our performance as a financial institution. Furthermore, this synergetic partnership further boosts BMI Bank’s endeavour to champion our nation’s Vision 2030 initiatives to support local industrial projects and help them achieve their strategic goals for a better tomorrow.”
Mr. Fuad Jalal, Chairman of Arabian Sugar Company said: “With our strong shareholders and state of the art project, we have concluded the circle with strong banks such as BBK & BMI Bank that will enable us to finalize this project before the end of this year. This project will produce over 600,000 tons per year of top grade Sugar which conforms with the region’s food security requirements and will be a major exporter to the region, in line with Bahrain’s vision.”
Mr. Anmar Al Arrayed, Managing Director of Arabian Sugar Company said: “Arabian Sugar Company would like to thank our financing partners in this prestigious project, BBK & BMI Bank for their commitment and belief in our shared vision to set up a state of the art manufacturing facility in Bahrain which would benefit Bahrain and provide job opportunities and careers to Bahrainis and add to the strength of the Bahraini economy.”