Haldor Topsoe to Help Build $2.5 Billion Congo Fertilizer Plant

(Bloomberg) -- Haldor Topsoe A/S, a Danish chemical-catalyst maker, will help the Republic of Congo build a $2.5 billion fertilizer plant near the port city of Pointe Noire, the central African nation’s economy minister of state said.

The facility is meant to help diversify Congo’s oil-dependent economy, which has the continent’s second-highest level of inequality, after South Africa. The economy has contracted for the past two years because of a decline in crude prices and is forecast to expand by just 0.7 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Haldor Topsoe will work on the project with MGI Energy, a closely held Pointe Noire-based company, Economy Minister of State Gilbert Ondongo said by phone Sunday from the city. A feasibility study is being conducted over the next six months before work starts in 2019, with completion expected to take about three years, he said.

“Similar plants have been constructed in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan and they helped those countries to become self-sufficient in agriculture,” Ondongo said. “The place where the plant will be built will make it easy for its fertilizer to reach local, regional and international markets.”

MGI Energy will supply natural gas to the project that will be transformed into ammonia, a raw material used in the production of fertilizers, he said. Haldor Topsoe confirmed it’s involved in the project.

“It’s too early to say anything about the cost of the project or the time-line, but it’s in the early stage,” a spokeswoman for the Lyngby, Denmark-based company said by phone.

Ondongo said three-quarters of the funding for the project will come from EKF, Denmark’s export-credit agency, with the rest being provided by the Copenhagen-based Investment Fund for Developing Countries.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.