‘The Saudi project would take over the role of the proposed Yemeni plant, supplying the African market,’ says Balexco general manager Ali al-Abassi. ‘It will be an integrated plant – with extrusion presses, anodising lines and power-coating facilities – because the markets into which the output will be sold don’t have finishing capabilities.’ The facility will have capacity of 7,000-8,000 tonnes a year (t/y).

Final agreements remain to be put in place for the Qatari plant, which is a joint venture between Balexco with 49 per cent and Qatar Islamic Bankwith 51 per cent. A consultant has been selected internally but the award is on hold. The proposed plant will also have capacity of 7,000-8,000 t/y.

‘At the moment it is a challenge just making our Bahraini operations profitable,’ says Al-Abassi. ‘High aluminium prices are hurting us badly.’ The company’s Sitra plant has capacity of 25,000 t/y.