Key industry expo set to open in Bahrain
Manama, January 10, 2010
The third edition of Gulf Industry Fair (GIF) opens on Tuesday at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre in the midst of multi-billion-dollar industrial investments in the region.
Key industrial and infrastructure investments are taking place in the region notwithstanding the still difficult economic times globally, the fair’s organisers said.
The increased presence of international firms at GIF 2010 compared to the more local and regional flavour of the first two shows in 2008 and 2009 reflects the growing stature of the event, Hilal Conferences and Exhibitions (HCE) said.
HCE, part of Bahrain-based Al Hilal Group, observed that the event was fast becoming the preferred marketing platform in the region for industrial firms and that it reflected significant opportunities provided by the petrochemicals, electricity production and distribution, iron, steel and aluminium sectors of the Northern Gulf.
“These sectors in particular are expected to witness massive infrastructure investments over the next few years, especially in Saudi Arabia,” it added.
Al Hilal Group managing director Ronnie Middleton, addressing a press conference, said the three-day GIF 2010, beginning January 12, was being held at a time when Bahrain had unveiled two key components of its drive to establish the kingdom as the industrial hub for the Northern Gulf – the Khalifa Bin Salman Port and Salman Industrial City.
“These two state-of-the-art facilities provide a massive impetus to the realisation of Bahrain’s objective to grow the kingdom’s industrial sector to the stage where industry becomes a significant proportion of the country’s GDP,” Middleton pointed out.
He said the government’s efforts over several years to attract investments had proved successful as was seen in Saudi Amiantit’s recent decision to set up a plant in Bahrain.
“Despite the global crisis, which has also had an impact on the Gulf, the industrial sector in the GCC area continues to grow as governments remain committed to multi-billion-dollar investment programmes covering new and existing infrastructure projects. Power generation, construction and transportation are the main sectors benefitting from this investment but the knock-on-effect on the region’s industrial sector will be massive.”
Projects attract big investments
Middleton citied several examples of investment including Saudi Electricity Company’s projects to build power plants in Rabigh and Shuaiba at a cost in excess of $7.5 billion and Maaden of Saudi Arabia’s recent deal with US-based Alcoa for the construction of a $10.8 billion aluminium complex comprising a refinery and smelter in Ras Azzour.
In Qatar, a range of new initiatives with contract values of up to $25 billion will be launched in 2010 and in Kuwait expenditure plans include $87 billion on oil projects over the next 20 years in addition to the launch of new development schemes in 2010 worth $62 billion.
In the UAE planned investments include building of four nuclear reactors at an estimated cost of $40 billion in addition to over $78 billion worth of construction projects awarded in 2009.
Middleton also referred to Bahrain’s expansion plans for both General Petrochemical Industries Co (GPIC) and Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) and the construction of an integrated steel complex in the Hidd Industrial Area (part of Salman Industrial City), the investment for all of which will be nearly $5 billion.
“The massive continued investment by GCC governments coupled with the fact that the price of oil has recovered to what are considered to be realistic levels, makes the future of industry in this region both sustainable and exciting,” said Middleton.
“The industrial manufacturing and services sector will see outstanding growth opportunities over the next few years and this is one of the reasons that for the 2010 fair we have also introduced an associated conference.”
The Gulf Industry Forum takes place on the fair’s opening day and is aimed at providing an additional opportunity for businessmen and industrialists from all over the region and internationally to exchange information, views and opinions about the future of industry in the Gulf.
Forum speakers from overseas will also be actively exploring investment opportunities in Bahrain and the region, said Middleton.
The 2010 exhibition brings together 84 companies from 15 different countries including China, the US, the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, India and the Czech Republic, said Jubran Abdulrahman, managing director of HCE.
They will showcase cutting-edge products and services across the aluminium, other metals, machine tools, industrial equipment and manufacturing, automation, energy, logistics and metrology sectors.
The event, one of the most comprehensive shows in the region, is being extensively promoted throughout the GCC with the specific aim of attracting visitors from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait through a massive promotional campaign incorporating newspapers, trade magazines, direct mail, email, online advertising and radio and outdoor advertising.
“Over the next few years, Bahrain’s strategic location for exhibitions will be further enhanced once the friendship bridge between Bahrain and Qatar is completed. This will place Bahrain at the apex of a transportation triangle which will see the kingdom as the gateway to both the Northern and Lower Gulf regions,” said Abdulrahman.
“This year we welcome Alba, our strategic sponsor for the aluminium segment together with Bapco, our strategic sponsor for the energy segment of the show. Our thanks go to both companies who, with their initiatives, are helping to encourage the development of industrial activities in the kingdom.”
Abdulrahman expressed appreciation for the continued support of Bahrain’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Hassan Fakhro and thanked the Prime Minister, HRH Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, for his patronage.
Top speakers at forum
The one-day Gulf Industry Forum will be held in association with leading event consultancy North Star Associates. The forum brings together influential business leaders and captains of industry from the energy and power, finance, ports and logistics, commodities and manufacturing sectors to discuss the industrial sector’s role in enhancing Gulf economic output and leading the world out of recession under the theme “The Future is Industry.”
A keynote opening address from Dr Fakhro will be followed by keynote speeches by Sheikh Daij bin Salman bin Daij Al Khalifa, chairman, General Organisation for Seaports (GOP) in Bahrain, and Faisal Al-Mahroos, acting chief executive, Bapco.
Other speakers include leading Saudi industrialist Dr Solaiman Al Twaijri, managing director and CEO, Saudi Arabian Amiantit Company; Mahmood Kooheji, chairman, Alba; Ameet Shah, co-chairman and director, Astonfield Management; Nicholas Moy, chairman, Gryphen Investment Bank; Praveen Kadle, managing director, Tata Capital, and Saad Al Qahtani, CEO, Arbah Capital.
The speakers’ list includes Madhu Konneru, CEO, Trimex International; Tony Smith, director, British Offset Office; Maurizio Manzati, managing director, Emirates International Advisers; Ashraf Yusuf Suliman, South African Ambassador to Kuwait, and Jowan Fuad Masum, former Iraqi Minister of Communications and partner, Bayan Consultants, Iraq.
To enable forum participants and delegates to visit Gulf Industry Fair and maximise networking opportunities, the exhibition will operate without break from 10 am to 8 pm on Tuesday. For the remaining two days, the exhibition will be split into morning and afternoon sessions from 10 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 8 pm respectively. –TradeArabia News Service