May 2014 - Foursan Group, a leading Middle Eastern private equity firm, has announced that it has concluded three investments through its fund, Foursan Capital Partners I, in Shamsuna Power, a pioneering solar energy project in Jordan; Nafith Logistics, a technology-driven freight management company operating in Jordan and Iraq; and the National Bank of Iraq, a leading private bank in Iraq.
Shamsuna is a Jordanian company that obtained a license from the Government of Jordan to build, own and operate a 10 megawatt photovoltaic electricity generation plant for 20 years. The project is part of Jordan’s drive towards energy diversification and independence, with energy produced by renewable plants expected to be substantially cheaper than conventional energy that Jordan imports, as well as being significantly friendlier to the environment. The Shamsuna plant will be located in Aqaba, unique among first round solar plants due to its proximity to port facilities and the availability of already existing substations of the Jordanian National Electric Power Company (NEPCO). In March 2014, Shamsuna signed a power purchase agreement with NEPCO that is backed by a full sovereign guarantee from the Government of Jordan. Foursan holds 85% of Shamsuna’s equity, and the project is expected to commence operations in early 2015.
Nafith develops and operates technology-driven services that regulate and create efficiencies in shared freight transportation infrastructure. Nafith’s current large scale projects are located in Aqaba and the company is Jordan’s leading logistics company, having transformed the movement of freight at the Aqaba port and across other border crossings. Recently, Nafith signed contracts with the Government of Iraq to manage the Umm Qasr port and two other border crossings beginning in late 2014, with the goal of substantially improving transportation and logistics efficiency in Iraq. Nafith is also reviewing opportunities to expand its operations into the GCC and North Africa and aims to export its logistics solutions intellectual property globally. Foursan acquired a substantial minority stake in the company and, together with its co-investor the International Finance Corporation (IFC), will own a majority of Nafith’s equity.
National Bank of Iraq
Established in 1995, the National Bank of Iraq (NBI) is a dynamic and leading private sector Iraqi bank that is publicly traded on the Iraq Stock Exchange. Over the last several years, NBI has significantly grown its balance sheet while decreasing its depositor and lender concentration levels. In 2013, NBI increased its assets by 60% to $466 million, more than doubled its deposits to $310 million and grew its loan portfolio by 70% to $100 million, while preserving a conservative loan-to-deposit ratio of 33%. NBI’s lead shareholder is Capital Bank (Jordan’s third largest bank by paid-up capital) and as part of a capital increase to support NBI’s growing investments in human resources, systems and capital, Foursan and its investing consortium, which includes Cairo Amman Bank (Jordan’s premier retail bank), took a leading minority position in NBI.
Nashat T. Masri, a Founding Partner at Foursan, commented on the transactions: “We are delighted to have concluded these promising investments after having worked with the management teams of these companies for several years and been impressed by their vision and achievements. We look forward to working closely with them to further enhance and grow the companies in their local and regional markets.
With these investments, Foursan Capital Partners I’s portfolio includes six companies operating throughout the MENA region across diversified sectors including financial services (conventional and Islamic); food manufacturing and processing; hospitality and restaurants; logistics; and renewable energy.