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Mon 22 Oct 2007 04:54 PM

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Work begins on Saudi-Jordan cement plant

Arabian Cement plant near Amman to expand Saudi firm's capacity to 2mn tonnes a year.

Saudi Arabia's Arabian Cement on Sunday began work on its $400 million Portland cement plant in the Jordanian city of Al Qatranah, 90 kilometres south of the capital Amman.

The Jeddah-based firm is planning to expand its capacity through the new plant by producing around two million tonnes of cement annually, or more than 5,000 tonnes daily.

In August, Arabian Cement awarded the $110 million construction contract to Germany's KHD Humboldt to supply the plant with equipment. The company plans to start the plant’s operation sometime in 2009.

Abdullah Al-Issa, chairman of Arabian Cement, told the press in a statement that the project’s Jordanian partner had paid 5% of the total cost of the plant.

The company announced earlier on its website that the Jordanian partner stake in the project was 20%. Al-Issa, however, did not disclose the name of the partner.

In its initial phase the plant will employ 300 workers, according to Al-Issa, and by its final stage the total workforce will reach around 1,500.

Arabian Cement is embarking on similar expansions in Saudi Arabia. The company signed an agreement with Italian company Italcementi in June for the construction of a cement plant in the country’s Western Province to produce 10,000 tonnes of cement daily.

Arabian Cement reported that its net profit for the third quarter reached 306 million Saudi riyals ($81 million), reflecting 11.6% increase in its profit compared to the same period last year.

The company’s share closed trading on the day of the announcement on 82 riyals ($21.9), marking a 1.2% decline on the previous day.

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