Al-Ghurair Iron & Steel (AGIS) is in discussions with vendors over a new galvanising line at its steel processing plant in Mussafah, Abu Dhabi, according to the company’s chief executive officer (CEO), Abu Bucker Husain.

The company is planning to double the capacity of its plant to 400,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of galvanised hot rolled coils and is on track to complete the project by early 2014, Husain told MEED’s Abu Dhabi 2012 conference on 20 November.

AGIS has hired UK-based bank HSBC as its main finance partner to help fund the estimated $50m project, which will also include a cold rolling line. The company hired India’s ESPIC for the project’s engineering, equipment and design works in May this year.

Husain said the plant’s initial 200,000 t/y capacity, which started up in 2009, has been running at 100 per cent capacity since the first year of operation, despite a slump in the UAE construction market.

AGIS sells 40 per cent of its galvanised steel to the domestic market, with 20-30 per cent going to Saudi Arabia and the remainder to other markets in the Middle East and North Africa. Galvanised steel is predominantly used for heating and ventilation ducts.

In November 2011, AGIS entered a strategic alliance with Nippon Steel Corporation under which the Japanese major acquired a 20 per cent equity share and will supply feedstock to AGIS’s Abu Dhabi operations.