MISRATA – The Libyan Iron and Steel Company (LISCO) said that it had signed an agreement with a Turkish steel company which would see the renovation of some of LISCO’s manufacturing plants. In a statement released on its Facebook page, LISCO said that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Turkey’s BLS Machinery & Engineering Ltd about the development and renovation of three manufacturing facilities and the provision of spare parts for two others.
The Turkish company’s website said that it had a 30-year experience in the steel industry with its factory based in the western Turkish city of Isparta and a head office in Istanbul. The contract was signed by LISCO’s general manager, Muhammed al-Faqih, and Bulent Sarigu, his Turkish counterpart.
The Libyan company started production in the last quarter of 1989 with a capacity of 1.3 million tonnes exported to Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Spain as well as satisfying most of the domestic market needs before its capacity dropped to 80,000 tonnes following the regime change of 2011.
In June 2019, al-Faqih, had blamed the drop in LISCO's productivity level on Libya’s post-2011 electricity crisis, adding that the company was planning to announce a tender aimed at building two new plants designed to bolster its manufacturing capacity.
As one of North Africa’s largest state-owned steel manufacturer employing around 6700 workers- 30 percent of whom are expatriates- the company was not spared from controversies as Libya plunged into civil wars and fragmentation of state institutions. Most notably, questions continue to be raised over the transparency of its post-2011 management and the fate of its annual revenues which its current manager has estimated this year at hundreds of millions of US dollars.