By Andy Sambidge
Conglomerate Imerys eyes construction of new production plant to supply global market
French mineral conglomerate Imerys on Saturday announced plan to establish a joint venture with Al Zayani Investments for the construction of a new production plant in Bahrain.
The joint venture will produce white fused aluminium oxide, a fine grain used for abrasives, refractories, sandblasting and thermal coating, for the global market.
The new Imerys joint venture plant will be its first in the Gulf. Imerys is active in 47 countries with more than 240 sites and achieved more than €3.3bn in sales in 2010. No value was given for Imery's investment in Bahrain.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al-Khalifa, chief executive of the Economic Development Board (EDB) said: "The decision by Imerys to announce its intention to invest in Bahrain demonstrates the continued confidence in the kingdom as the gateway to the Gulf market and beyond."
Gilles Michel, chairman and CEO of Imerys, added: "We were seeking to establish a new plant in the region as the Gulf's location is ideal for supplying a global market.
"The access to high quality raw materials from the Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) smelter, and an availability of very competitive energy makes it a natural choice for this new plant."
Hamid Al Zayani, chairman of Al Zayani Investments, said: "This project will be another accolade to the kingdom's policy in promoting downstream industries across Bahrain. The decision is great news for the Bahraini economy and underlines our continuing attractiveness as an investment destination."
It is the third major new industrial announcement from Bahrain in as many months following decisions by German firms, BASF and RMA, to develop new facilities at the Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP) in Bahrain.