Bahrain Steel plans to double output

The company currently has an installed capacity of 11 million tonnes a year

Image used for illustrative purpose. Male engineer with flashlight inspecting steel cylinder

Image used for illustrative purpose. Male engineer with flashlight inspecting steel cylinder

Getty Images/ Caiaimage/Lukasz Olek

MANAMA: Bahrain Steel, a wholly-owned unit of Foulath Holding, expects to double output over the next decade broadening international reach and customer base, its top officials have said.

The company currently has an installed capacity of 11 million tonnes a year making it a leading producer of iron-ore pellets used in the production of steel.

It operates two pelletising plants in the kingdom, the first of which was started in 1984.

Khalid Al Bassam, the chairman of both Bahrain Steel and Foulath, told a conference at the Al Areen Palace and Spa yesterday that it was operating the world’s largest merchant pelletiser.

What it meant, according to him, was that unlike other pellet producers, it was independent from any iron ore mine, and free to choose the “most suitable ores from around the world to produce the pellets required by our customers”.

The chairman added, “Thirty years of production is an important celebration for Bahrain Steel. This milestone represents not only what we have achieved over the past three decades, but also our standing in the regional and international iron and steel business.

In the past year, Bahrain Steel produced 8m tonnes of iron ore pellets, gaining a 26 per cent market share in the GCC and an “enviable record for quality output”.

The pellets are supplied to steelmakers throughout the world but the key focus is the GCC market which has an estimated demand of 22m tonnes.

Foulath Holding is an investment vehicle whose holdings are believed to in excess of $3.5 billion in value, has developed the world’s only fully integrated single site steel complex – which includes Bahrain Steel.

Spread over 1.3m sqm, the complex has established companies across the entire steel value chain from “mine to metal”, he said.

Mr Al Bassam said with the forecast of a major increase of production by Bahrain Steel, the celebration and conference was a key opportunity to “share plans with partners, suppliers, customers and the shipping industry”.

The chairman also announced the company would soon be signing a new 20-year iron ore supply agreement with Anglo American Marketing Limited (AAML).

Since the beginning of 2018, Bahrain Steel and AAML have worked to place their relationship on a new and stronger commercial and co-operative footing.

The new iron ore supply agreement will replace the 2012 agreement, he said.

Also present on the occasion was Dilip George, group chief executive of Bahrain Steel and Foulath Holding, who said, “The negotiations and the drafting of the new agreement are now in the end stages of completion, and the new agreement is expected to be finalised and signed next month.”

Mr George said Bahrain as a strategic location and an enabling environment had a key role to play in the success of the steel making supplier.

“Over three decades, we have exported Bahrain-made products around the world and have also trained hundreds of Bahrainis under our skills development programme, many of whom have taken up senior positions in the Foulath group companies or have gone on to senior positions in other industrial organisations in Bahrain,” he added.

Bahrain Steel currently employs 465 personnel, of whom, about 46pc are Bahraini.

According to Mr George, Foulath operations contribute 4pc to Bahrain’s GDP and the complex is one of the biggest employers in the country.

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