The French industrial engineer Fives Group is in talks with Emal and Kizad about a multimillion euro partnership to create as many as 100 high-tech jobs for nationals.
Emal and Kizad in French link-up talks
The French industrial engineer Fives Group is in talks with Emal, the UAE-based aluminium smelter, and Kizad, the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, about a multimillion euro partnership that could create as many as 100 high-tech jobs for nationals.
Frédéric Sanchez, the chief executive of Fives Group, held talks with Khaled Salmeen, the chief executive of Kizad, and representatives from Emal at the Abu Dhabi investment forum in Paris on Wednesday.
Mr Sanchez has proposed setting up a new operation within Kizad to provide Emal with state-of-the-art technology to manufacture anodes crucial to the production of aluminium. The group also proposed providing technology for treating the polluting emissions that are a by-product of the aluminium smelting process.
"All of the big aluminium smelters in the Gulf are using equipment from Fives except Emal. They are still working with former suppliers, with whom they have worked since the beginning," Mr Sanchez said.
"But our technology is much more efficient than the technology they currently have as their competitors can show them. So we are talking about becoming a part of their operations."
Importantly, Fives Group has proposed training Emirati nationals in the high-tech engineering processes used to manufacture the specialised anodes for smelting aluminium.
"It is not highly capital-intensive," Mr Sanchez said, "but it is creating a knowledge base that is sustainable."
The programme requires some €4 million (Dh18.9m) of investment to set up but would result in as many as 100 jobs for nationals, Mr Sanchez said.
"Emal is a big gap in our Middle Eastern portfolio. I met today with the CEO and I told him I will pay a visit with him before September. They are just finalising phase two investment and we expect to be part of phase three investment by Emal at Kizad."
Mr Salmeen confirmed the meeting with Fives Group and said the discussions were at an early stage but very positive. He added that the prospect of providing high-tech jobs for UAE nationals was very appealing.
"Employing nationals is very important." he said. "For us it has always been very important to focus on companies that bring know-how rather than companies that want to do low-tech work. We reject 80 per cent of companies that apply to us just because they do not have the ambition to advance technology.
We would love to work with this French company and this is our mandate to facilitate and become an enabler for industrial groups."
Mr Salmeen added that Kizad was also holding talks in Paris with French companies from the steel industry and the food manufacturing industry about taking tenancies at the industrial zone.
This month Emal, a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi strategic investment company Mubadala Development and Dubai Aluminium (Dubal), said it would be adding a potline to its smelter complex at Kizad that will increase capacity from 800,000 tonnes a year (t/y) to 1.3 million t/y.
The US$3.8 billion Phase 2 expansion is slated for commissioning this December and will make Emal the world's fifth-largest aluminium producer.