Sunday, August 17, 2008

BCM Mongolia NewsWire Highlights: Syndicated Loans, Trouble at Home & Fun in Beijing

EBRD syndicated loan to MCS, first in Mongolia; Baganuur Mines to expand development operations; USD 100 million Kazakh-Mongolian investment fund being set up; Take-over bid circular and QGX directors' circular mailed; Ivanhoe explains delay on Oyu Tolgoi; French expertise for coal liquefaction; Inspection agency halts mining at Tavan Tolgoi; Leighton looks to expand into Mongolia, Siberia.

Monetary policy implementation by Central Bank; Budget surplus comes down from last year; GDP rises 13.3 per cent; Unemployment up as new jobs are created; More freight makes up for fewer passengers; Costs rise along with petrol, diesel prices; More money for Mongolia Development Fund.

Parliament tries twice to meet, and fails; Leaders mix business with pleasure in Beijing; MPRP shows up inconsistency in DP stand; Polar Star for Japanese Ambassador; Embassy in Canberra soon; Ruling party continues to be homeless; People prefer stocks to cash in “wealth share"

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There were two attempts to hold a session of the new Parliament on August 14 and both failed. The first meeting was called at 11.30 am. All MPRP members were present, and so were S.Oyun from the Civil Will party, and the lone Independent, Z.Altai. The two DP leaders who are now supporting an early swearing in, E.Bat-Uul and B.Batbayar, were also seen. With the rest of the DP members staying away, however, there was no quorum and it was decided to meet again at 3 pm. This also did not have enough members and so could not be held. A resolution seems likely in the next few days. Hectic consultations are pointing to some sort of a coalition being worked out. The MPRP has two factions, one led by the present Prime Minister, S.Bayar, and the other by his predecessor in office, M.Enkhbold. A rough count gives both leaders the support of an equal number of 23 MPs. Both factions would like to dominate the next government, formed either by the MPRP or by the party with others’ support. The winner at the stakes might well be the one who succeeds in getting the DP’s support. There is division within that party also on which faction to support and on what terms. One group is led by E.Bat-Uul and B.Batbayar, who have come out in open favor of new MPs taking the oath without any further delay. Meanwhile the DP Executive Board has decided to discuss the issue of expelling E.Bat-Uul and B.Batbayar from the party.share”.

As its first syndicated loan in Mongolia the EBRD is providing a US $13 million credit to MCS Coca-Cola LLC, a privately-owned local soft-drinks producer, to help it raise production, expand its product range, and most importantly, improve its wastewater treatment and recycling processes. MCS will use the funds to construct a greenfield bottling plant to increase its production capacity. The new wastewater treatment and recycling plant, to be used by a neighboring MCS-APB brewery, will allow the company to recycle water up to five times more than now to discharge to the municipal sewage system (once treated).
MCS, which holds the franchise for Coca-Cola products in Mongolia, is one of the largest private companies in the country. According to the President of MCS Holding LLC, this expansion project partially funded with EBRD support will help take the company’s business to a different level and promote local manufacturing, employment, and environment-friendly production.\\

The Baganuur Mines Company has decided to enlarge its development area to twice its present extent. The 30-year-old company currently spends Tg 40 billion annually on development operations, and in recent years it has been facing financial challenges in conducting exploration and development work.
Coal from Baganuur’s mines meets 40% of the entire demand of Mongolia. More important, the mines supply 60% of the demand in Ulaanbaatar and thus their coal is indispensable for generating electricity and heating in the capital city

State leaders of Mongolia, invited to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games, took advantage of their visit to hold important talks. President N.Enkhbayar has met with Chinese President Hu Jintao to suggest several new areas of cooperation. These include projects like building a second railway line connecting the two capitals, building a new railway in north Mongolia as part of the North East Asia Project, developing the capacity of Zamyn Uud to handle trade, increasing oil exploration efforts, building a refinery, particularly for the petroleum that Mongolia will be importing from China, and building a power station in south Mongolia near the Shivee Ovoo coalmines.

President Hu promised careful consideration of all the proposals, and suggested setting up a mechanism to work on food safety and security as soon as possible, renewing the present general agreement on cooperation in several sectors, and working on a new agreement on labor.
Ulaanbaatar Mayor T.Bilegt, also in Beijing, met with officials of the Chinese Road and Bridge Construction Corporation, which is listed among the world’s 500 biggest corporations. The company has expressed interest in road building jobs in Mongolia and has conducted related surveys. It also presented proposals to the Mayor about solving the problems of Ulaanbaatar road networks.

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