Morocco’s OCP expects plants in Nigeria, Ghana to be operational by 2024

The company’s chief growth officer says the plants in the two West African nations will add two million tonnes a year to its global output capacity

Morocco’s OCP Group expects a fertiliser plant in Ghana and an ammonia plant in Nigeria to be operational by 2024, says the company’s chief growth officer, Soufiyane El Kassi.

OCP, the world’s biggest phosphates exporter, will build the two plants, each with a capacity of one million tonnes a year, in its effort to drive the use of phosphates-based fertilisers in Africa, El Kassi said via email.

It had already announced plans to start operating a 2.5-million-tonne-a-year fertiliser plant in Ethiopia by 2023 or 2024 with phosphoric acid supplied from Morocco.

The chief growth officer said its output would be for both the domestic and export markets.

Like many other Moroccan firms, including banks, insurers and real-estate companies, OCP has been expanding its investments in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, boosting the kingdom’s economic clout.

The group also plans blending plants in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda to customise fertilisers to the requirements of different soils, he said.

So far, it supplies 28 blending units and has offered training to help 750,000 African farmers in eight countries to increase production.

In 2019, OCP’s fertiliser exports hit nine million tonnes, including 1.8 million tonnes to Africa, or 58% of the total volume of fertilisers sold on the continent.

Low international prices however incurred a 3% drop in revenue to $5.5 billion in 2019.

The company has cut production by 500,000 tonnes in the first quarter, a move that El Kassi said was to adapt to market demand.

The OCP, with a net debt of $4.7 billion in 2019, last issued an international bond in 2015.

“Maintaining a footprint in the Eurobond market has always been part of our financing strategy,” El Kassi said.

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