QURGHON TEPPA, January 26, 2016, Asia-Plus - Tajik fertilizer factory, TojikAzot that is located in the southern city of Sarband is expected to be reintroduced into operation this year.

“The enterprise will be reintroduced into operation this year due to financial support of China,” TojikAzot director Fayziddin Rahmonov told reporters in Qurghon Teppa on January 25.

“Under an agreement between the Government of Tajikistan and one of Chinese companies, modernization of the enterprises will begin this year and it will be shifted from natural gas to coal,” Rahmonov said, noting that the Chinese company intends to invest 150 million U.S. dollars in modernization of the factory.

According to him, an initial annual capacity of TojikAzot will be 150,000 tons of carbamide and it will be increased in the future.

Asked about Chinese company’s share in the factory, Rahmonov said that he does not have information about that. 

The 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.

TojikAzot was partly state owned, with the government controlling a 20 percent stake in the troubled enterprise.  Cypriot-registered Highrock Holdings Ltd, owned by Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, assumed the 75% ownership interest in the enterprise and Khairullo Saidov, the son of ex-Minister of Industry Zayd Saidov, owned 5 percent of shares in TojikAzot.

In March 2014, Tajikistan’s Agency for State Financial Control and Combating Corruption 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.

Tajik anticorruption agency said the deal had not been concluded correctly and 75 percent of shares must be returned to the Tajik government.  The anticorruption agency also accused Firtash of untargeted use of means.

On June 23, 2014, the Khatlon Economic Court issued a ruling on nationalization of TojikAzot.