Dubai rolling mill takes shape

19 April 2002

An estimated $120 million project to build an aluminium foil rolling mill in Dubai has taken a fresh step forward with the early-April signing of a memorandum of understanding by the three founding partners. Dubai Investments(DI), Al-Ghurair Private Company (AGPC), both local,and Pechiney of France are expected to sign by the end of May a formal joint venture agreement for the project (MEED 5:4:02).

The new plant, to be located at Dubai Investments Park, will have an initial capacity of 33,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of aluminium foil, strips and coils, and will serve the domestic and export markets. The US' RSI has carried out a feasibility study for the project.

The project will be financed on a 60:40 debt/equity ratio. 'We have a few options at hand. We will either approach banks, or seek export credit finance from European agencies,' Khalid bin Kalban, chief executive of DI, said on 15 April.

The mill will use about 35,000 t/y of feedstock. 'We have signed an LoI [letter of intent] with Dubai Aluminium Company (Dubal)for long-term supplies of 25,000 t/y,' Kalban said. The remaining volumes will be procured from regional and global producers of primary aluminium.

The mill's capacity is expected to increase to 60,000 t/y at a later date. 'The demand in the GCC for foil, strips, coils and related products is growing at a rate of 6-7 per cent a year,' Kalban said.

A new company, Emiroll, is being set up to carry out the project. It is a joint venture in which DI will hold a 50 per cent stake, Pechiney 30 per cent and AGPC 20 per cent.

Construction will start by the end of 2002 and the plant is for completion by the end of 2004. Consultants are expected to be appointed soon for packages covering process, electromechanical, machinery and equipment and welding works.

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