The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a EUR 35 million loan to DG Khan Cement Co Ltd. for the construction of a new cement plant in Chakwal District in central Pakistan.

The loan contract was signed by Raza Mansha, CEO of DG Khan Cement Co. Ltd, and by Jean Louis Biancarelli, EIB Director General for lending outside the European Union, in the presence of Dr. Shamshad-Akhtar, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan.

DG Khan Cement, a unit of Nishat Group, is the largest cement manufacturer in Pakistan and is located in the industrial heartland of Punjab. In addition to mainly supplying the market for infrastructure development of Pakistan's growing economy, the project is also significant for the reconstruction efforts following the October 2005 earthquake, including residential housing.

The new plant will improve supply in the domestic market and allow the company to access the untapped market of Northern Punjab and North West Frontier Province, besides making it more convenient to export to Afghanistan from northern borders.

A positive social effect contributing towards poverty alleviation is expected in the vicinity of the site of the new plant, which is located in one of the less developed rural areas of Pakistan, where unemployment is relatively high. The technology partner will transfer expertise with regard to operation and maintenance, and will as well provide training for staff and help to adopt high international environmental standards.