||Asean Affairs 10 July 2013
Jordan Govt plans to buy back Brunei firm's stake in mining firm
THE Jordanian government plans to buy back Brunei-held shares in a privatised phosphate mining company as it seeks to increase its presence in the country's large strategic companies, The Jordan Times quoted an anonymous government official as saying on Saturday.
Brunei-based Kamil Holdings Ltd is the biggest shareholder of the Jordan Phosphates Mining Company (JPMC), owning 37 per cent or 27.7 million of JPMC's 75 million shares.
Jordan's Finance Ministry owns 26.2 per cent, while 16 per cent is held by the Social Security Investment Fund.
The unnamed official told the Amman newspaper that the Jordanian government was seeking greater control over such companies, particularly in the country's mining sector.
JPMC was incorporated as a public company in 1953. Privatised in 2006, the company operates in three mining locations across the central and southern parts of Jordan with estimated phosphate rock reserves of 1.47 billion tonnes.
JPMC is the sixth largest phosphate rock producer and the second largest exporter of the raw material in the world, according The Jordan Times. However, since its privatisation, the company has been rocked by allegations of "illegalities", with its workers threatening a sit-in last year to lobby for the company's return to state ownership.
Secretary of the Independent Union of Phosphate Workers Ahmed Qaisi told The Jordan Times in May that JPMC employees and activists were protesting against the agreement that paved the way for Kamil Holdings to acquire over one-third of the company. The employees reportedly called for the company to be directed by an "honest" Jordanian.
The newspaper reported that last month that the company's former CEO Walid Kurdi was sentenced by an Amman court to 37.5 years imprisonment with hard labour on charges of "abuse of office" and embezzlement. Ubaidillah Masli The Brunei Times