RAK buys stake in Georgia port
Tbilisi, April 14, 2008
Georgia has agreed to sell control of the Black Sea port of Poti to RAK Investment Authority of the UAE for $90 million, an economy ministry spokeswoman said.
RAK Investment would spend a further $200 million to $300 million developing a free industrial zone around the port, said Tea Bolkvadze.
She said RAK would pay $80 million for a 51 percent stake in the port, located 400 km (250 miles) from the Georgian capital Tbilisi, plus a further $10 million for the purchase of more than 300 hectares of land in its vicinity.
The Georgian government will retain a 49 percent stake.
RAK Investment was chosen from 11 competing companies, having pledged to invest $200 million in the next three to four years to build a new port terminal near the current port at Poti, which handles products including crude oil and oil products.
The government of the ex-Soviet country has projected that Poti's capacity will rise to between 35 million and 40 million tonnes a year from its current maximum capacity of 8 million. Last year, Poti shipped 7.7 million tonnes.
The Georgian government hopes the newly created free industrial zone will attract many companies who will produce goods for export and create about 20,000 jobs in the region.
Companies which choose to operate in the new zone will be exempt from value-added tax, as well as tax on profit and property, the government has said. -Reuters