The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 20 million (1) for the construction of a new bromine manufacturing facility at Safi, on the Jordanian shore of the Dead Sea, being promoted by a Jordanian - American joint venture.

The EIB loan goes to the Jordan Bromine Company Ltd (JBC). JBC is a joint-venture between the Arab Potash Company Ltd of Jordan, together with its subsidiary Jordan Dead Sea Industries Company, and Albemarle Holdings, a fully-owned subsidiary of the Albemarle Corporation of the USA. The new manufacturing facility will produce bromine and bromine derivatives used mainly as flame-retardant and in a wide-range of other chemical applications. The plant is expected to start production by the end of 2002 and will create some 280 jobs.

The Kingdom of Jordan has a 55.4% stake in the Arab Potash Company, which has an exclusive concession to exploit the mineral salts of the Dead Sea until 2058.

The project is environmentally very sound and has a water neutral effect on the Dead Sea.

The investment brings together Jordan's high-quality, competitively priced raw materials, its skilled workforce and a good location for the growing markets of Europe and Far East with the technology know-how of Albemarle Corporation, one of the world's leading bromine producers.

The project is being financed by the EIB under the Euro-Med Partnership agreement. It is part of the EIB's efforts to support the industrial sector in the Middle East, to facilitate the economic transition in preparation for the Free Trade Zone between the EU and the partner Mediterranean countries foreseen for 2010.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) was set up in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome to provide loan finance for capital investment furthering European Union objectives. It participates in the implementation of EU co-operation policies towards third countries that have co-operation or association agreements with the Union. In the Mediterranean region, the EIB operates in the context and support of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, adopted in Barcelona in 1995, and which complements the EU Member States' own bilateral co-operation policies.Under the Euro-Med Partnership arrangements, the EIB is committed to lend some EUR 2 310 million between 1997 and end 1999 for investment projects in 12 non EU-Member Mediterranean countries.This loan follows a number of other EIB operations in Jordan, making total financing since 1978 in this country some EUR 500 million, to support projects in water supply and waste water treatment, telecommunications, transport, electricity transmission and distribution, agricultural development and industrial projects, including SME's.

(1) The conversion rates used by the EIB: EUR 1 = 0.666300 GBP, 1.07420 USD ,0.765096 JOD.