Alba plots 2014 path: executive
Jan 03, 2014 | 08:30 AM
| Jethro Wookey
LONDON After the rapid growth of its primary aluminum industry, the Middle East is looking to build up its downstream sector.
The Middle East has always lacked an adequate downstream industry. Though some companies in the region ply the further reaches of the value chain, they do not compare with the size of the primary producers. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations account for about 10 percent of the worlds primary aluminum production but only about 3 percent of its downstream products, and have almost no industry in the end-use sectors.
That is now changing after a number of market participants and government officials spoke of the need to address this imbalanceto maximize value and generate employment opportunitiesat the 2013 Arabal conference in Abu Dhabi in November.
But although several delegates said at the time that the regions primary aluminum smelters could expand their operations further downstream to fill the gap, Aluminium Bahrain BSC (Alba) chief executive officer Tim Murray backs a different approach.
"Governments are in a much better position to grow the downstream industry than smelters," he said, pointing to the growth of the primary industry as a model. Alba is majority-owned by the states investment arm, Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co., while its second-largest shareholder is itself 70-percent owned by the Saudi Arabian government.....
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