Foulath opens $3.5bn integrated steel plant
Manama, April 27, 2010
Bahrain-based Gulf United Steel Holding Company (Foulath), a leading global steel investment vehicle, on Tuesday inaugurated its mammoth steel manufacturing complex in the Kingdom built at a cost of $3.5 billion.
A ceremony was held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Chairman of the Economic Development Board of Bahrain, to mark the official inauguration of Foulath, also the holding company of world’s first fully integrated steel producer, and three of its major investments.
The event was held at the new steel complex in Hidd Industrial Area in Salman Industrial City, which stretched across 1.3 million sq m, said a Foulath statement.
It is the world’s first fully integrated steel manufacturing facility and home to Foulath’s three investee companies - Gulf Industrial Investment Company (GIIC), United Stainless Steel Company (USCO) and United Steel Company (SULB).
The GIIC is a world-class pelletizing company is one of three merchant plants in the world and the only one located in the Middle East, while USCO is the region’s first manufacturer of stainless steel and SULB will become the region’s only producer of beams and medium and heavy structural steel sections.
Together these companies are the only ones in the world that manufacture everything -from iron ore to pellets to finished products at the same site, the company said in a statement.
The launch further served to underscore Foulath’s commitment to making ongoing investments across the region, with additional pelletizing projects planned in Egypt and Oman, while also highlighting a number of recent developments at Foulath’s existing investee companies, it added.
This included the inauguration of the second pelletizing plant at GIIC, with a production capacity of six million tons per annum, making it the largest grate-kiln pelletizing plant in the world, and just adjacent to GIIC’s first pelletizing plant which has been operating in Bahrain since 1984 besides the opening of USCO’s stainless steel cold rolling plant, with the capacity to produce 100,000 tons of cold rolled stainless steel per year.
This is the first plant of its kind in the Middle East, the company said.
Another of Foulath's major investments in the region includes the establishment of the $1.2 billion SULB project, with a production capacity of 1.5 million tons per year from its direct reduction iron plant, production capacity of 1.2 million tons per year at its Steel Melt Shop and production capacity of one million tons per year at its Heavy and Medium Section Rolling Mill.
All these will replace about 14 per cent of the current imports of medium and heavy sections into the region, the company said.
Commenting on the occasion, Dr. Hassan Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce, said Bahrain is a mature and well-established business hub with the largest financial institutions in the entire Mena region. "It is committed to free market and democratic principles, the rule of law and serving the needs of businesses and individuals," he added.
'I am gratified that in selecting the Kingdom to base these projects, Foulath and its shareholders have extended a significant vote of confidence in our country, its long-term economic strength as well as its vision 2030 and economic policies, which have been developed under the guidance of His Majesty King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa, His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister, and Crown Prince and implemented by the government of Bahrain”.
Hisham A. Al-Razzuqi, chairman of Foulath and chief executive officer of Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC), Foulath’s 50 per cent shareholder, expressed delight at marking the official launch of the Foulath brand and the inauguration of these projects, which together create the world’s first fully integrated steel manufacturing facility.
'The benefits of these projects are not only significant for Bahrain, where the facility has been established, but for the entire region,' said an elated Al-Razzuqi.
He stated that together these projects would help reduce dependence on steel imports and enhance the security of supplies to the Middle East markets, 'where steel is a critical building block of growth.'
'The success of Foulath is in no small part due to the support extended to the company by the Kingdom headed by His Majesty, the Prime Minister, and Crown Prince, who we commend and thank for the creation of an optimal investment environment in the Kingdom.'
'It is also a result of the vision of the company’s shareholders, comprising some of the region’s most prominent investors, each of whom has played a key role in the development of the private sector and the overall economic development of the Middle East,' the company chief said.
Al-Razzuqi said, 'As Foulath moves forward, the company intends to further reinforce its market leading role by supporting the ongoing development of the region’s steel industry as well as through the strengthening of its industrial base.'
'This will be achieved through additional investments in projects of regional significance, the development of local talent and, importantly, through the transfer of technical know-how and expertise to the Middle East markets leveraging the 25 year track record of its subsidiary GIIC and its partnerships with world leading steel industry players,' he remarked.
More than 300 people attended the launch event including key government officials from Bahrain and dignitaries from across the globe.