The deal is split between a $250m equity tranche, a $250m working capital facility and a $500m long-term loan.

Banks, including regional and international institutions, have been approached to fund the deal. A financing group is expected to be in place in the next few months, with some syndication expected to occur at the end of 2008.

In late July, Bahrain’s Gulf Finance House announced plans to establish a $5bn steel firm called HadeedMena, that would produce 8 million tonnes of steel per year for the regional construction industry from a number of different sites.