Tajikistan is seeking investors for resumption of operations at the debt-ridden and loss-making fertilizer plant, which is located in the southern province of Khatlon.
Tajik Minister of Industry and New Technologies Shavkat Bobozoda noted that some Chinese and European companies had shown interest in TojikAzot, the fertilizer factory located in the Tajik southern city of Sarband.
The debt-ridden and loss-making fertilizer plant has not been in operation since 2008 due to lack of natural gas supplies.
Until 2008, when neighboring Uzbekistan upped the price of natural gas, a key input for the factory, TojikAzot served as a foreign investment-success story for Tajikistan’s economy.
Bobozoda noted that it could be possible to resume operations at TojikAzot through introduction of the coal-produced syngas technology, which had already been used in Tajikistan.
TojikAzot was partly state owned, with the government controlling a 20% stake in the troubled enterprise. Ostark Ventures Limited (Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash is beneficial owner of Ostark Ventures Limited) assumed the 75% ownership interest in the enterprise and Khairullo Saidov, the son of ex-Minister of Industry Zayd Saidov, owned 5% of shares in TojikAzot.
On June 24, 2014, the Khatlon Economic Court invalidated the transaction for the sale of TojikAzot.
Tajikistan’s Agency for State Financial Control and Combating Corruption in March 2014 announced an investigation into a 2002 deal between Dmitry Firtash and the Tajik government to create TojikAzot, a plant specializing in the production of carbamide, an organic compound used in fertilizer. The anticorruption agency accused Firtash of illegal privatization of the company in 2002 and misappropriation of funds.
Firtash was arrested in Vienna on March 12, 2014, and released on a 125 million Euro bail two days later.
Following Firtash’s arrest, Tajikistan’s anticorruption agency charged him on March 15 with the illegal privatization of the clothing factory Guliston in 2002.
The anticorruption agency has argued that Zayd Saidov has been involved in the fraudulent privatization of Guliston and TojikAzot. (Asia-Plus/Business World Magazine)