R. Yuksel, the Turkish billionaire would finance a US$750 million plant in Venezuela

R. Yuksel, the Turkish billionaire would finance a US$750 million plant in Venezuela

The holding company of Turkish billionaire Robert Yuksel Yildirim signed an investment of US$750 millionfor the construction of an ammonia plant in eastern Venezuela, according to a senior government official.

Venezuela’s state petrochemical company, known as Pequivén, signed an agreement with Grupo Yildirim for the construction of a plant that plans to produce 600,000 tons of ammonia a year, said the official, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are not public. The plan was briefly mentioned by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a televised meeting from downtown Caracas on June 7 alongside Yildirim.

“This is a beneficial alliance for Turkey and Venezuela, Mr. Yildirim,” Maduro said during the meeting, adding that they were also on track to reach agreements on gold and natural gas.It is a good decision by Yildirim companies to arrive in Venezuela in time to invest.”

The plant is still in the design phase and there is no estimated completion date, the official said. PDVSA and Robert Yuksel Yildirim did not respond to requests for comment.

Maduro is seeking to encourage foreign investment from allied nations, such as Turkey, China and Iran, as renewed U.S. sanctions limit the ability of multinational companies to do business there. Despite the risks, investors have been attracted by the possibility of a recovery in Venezuela’s oil industry, the country’s lifeline.

The government of the socialist leader has given the big oil companies more operational control in their local joint ventures with Pvsa and recently allowed a foreign company to help run Venezuela’s failing steel industry.

Yildirim owns a 24% stake in shipping giant CMA CGM SA, one of the world’s largest container lines. Operates port terminals in Turkey, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Croatia, Peru, Ecuador and Guatemala, and manages mining plants in Russia, Kazakhstan, Albania, Kosovo and the USA.