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Cablegate: Senegal: Indian Iffco to Control Ics

VZCZCXRO9908
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHDK #1693/01 2261549
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141549Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9007
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0068
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAKAR 001693

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/EPS AND AF/W
STATE PASS EXIM, OPIC AND TDA
USDOC FOR 4510/MAC/ANESA/OA/PMICHELINI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIN EINV ETRD IN SG
SUBJECT: SENEGAL: INDIAN IFFCO TO CONTROL ICS

REF: DAKAR 666

1. Summary: On July 16 the Government of Senegal and the Indian
Farmer Fertilizer Cooperative Limited Group (IFFCO) signed a new
agreement to rescue Senegal's major phosphate producer, ICS. The
goal of the negotiations was to recapitalize ICS, gain creditors'
confidence, attract new shareholders, and after two years of minimal
mining, processing, and export activity, bring ICS production back
to historic levels. The new ICS, if equipment upgrades take place,
could significantly improve Senegal's GDP growth prospects and
balance of trade situation. However, since the GOS will now own
only 10 percent of the firm and because of a tax holiday included in
the agreement, the GOS will not benefit from a major increase in
revenue. End summary.

ICS COMING BACK ON-LINE
-----------------------
2. The importance of getting ICS back to near historic levels of
phosphate and phosphoric acid production has been a constant theme
from donors, the IMF, and Senegal's business community. ICS has, in
years past, accounted for an estimated three percent of Senegal's
GDP. However, this agreement's initial goal is only to get ICS up
to 50 percent of its historic capacity. Major investments by IFFCO
and its new partners to upgrade equipment will be required to boost
production higher.

3. Highlights of the agreement, which will allow IFFCO to control a
majority of the company's shares include:

-- IFFCO must invest CFA 40 billion (USD 80 million) in cash to
recapitalize ICS and pay debt. IFFCO must also present a new
business plan to the GOS and creditors. (Note: as noted in reftel,
the interim agreement signed in February 23, 2007 had previously
required IFFCO to invest the same amount by June 30, 2007. End
note.);

-- IFFCO is required to publish the list of ICS's new consortium
members before September 30, 2007. This will entail new
negotiations with ICS shareholders and creditors. (Note:
previously, ICS shareholders were: the GOS 46.38 percent, IFFCO
19.09 percent, the government of India 6.97 percent, the French firm
Societe Commerciale de Potasse et de l'Azote (SCPA) 4.76 percent,
the Government of Cote d'Ivoire 4.27 percent, the government of
Nigeria 3.95 percent, the Government of Cameroon 3.35 percent, the
Islamic Development Bank 3.34 percent, and various others 7.92
percent. End note.);

-- the consortium that includes IFFCO and other local and foreign
partners will control 90 percent of ICS's shares while the GOS will
retain only 10 percent;

-- the GOS will grant IFFCO 25 years of tax and fiscal
exonerations;

-- IFFCO must conclude negotiations with creditors before September
30, 2007; a transitory joint committee led by the GOS will monitor
the negotiation efforts with creditors. (Note: ICS has arrears of
over USD 400 million in both short- and long-term debt including
approximately USD 140 million owed to local banks. End note.);

-- IFFCO is required to retain 20 percent of phosphoric acid
production in Senegal for the fabrication of fertilizers to be sold
in Senegal and neighboring countries;

-- IFFCO will control ICS's current phosphate deposits and pursue
investment on other new mineral exploitation agreements;

-- the GOS must help make the company profitable by "securing the
business environment to support IFFCO's investment."

4. With the signed agreement in hand, IFFCO's General Manager told
the press that his company's immediate plans will include increasing
sale turnovers up to USD 200 million per year (from the estimated
USD 100 million in 2006) and the construction of a new cement plant
near ICS's phosphate deposit.

COMMENT
-------
5. For more than a year the GOS has been in negotiations with IFFCO
(and perhaps other potential donors) to rescue ICS, its 2,500
employees, and the important foreign exchange earnings the company
can generate. While this agreement is welcome, in the end it does
not appear the government gained any more from the negotiations than
it could have received 18 months ago, but now ICS is in further need
of new investment and improvements. And the deal is not yet done.
Finding new partners willing and able to commit significant
financing for ICS's revitalization and reaching a final agreement

DAKAR 00001693 002 OF 002


with creditors to either reschedule or forgive ICS's debt by
September 30 will be a very difficult task for IFFCO.

Visit Dakar's Intranet site at
http://dakar.state.gov/htdocs/section/econsec tion.aspx and Embassy
Dakar's SIPRNET Web site at http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/af/dakar.

SMITH

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