x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Gulf aluminium firm may expand to Africa and Asia

Gulf Extrusions is eyeing opportunities to build production plants in North Africa and Asia.

Gulf Extrusions, one of the largest aluminium extrusion companies in the Gulf, is eyeing opportunities to build production plants in North Africa and Asia. The company says it is seeking to diversify its markets and products due to the slowdown in the local construction sector. The UAE's construction boom triggered the expansion of aluminium plants across the country, but demand has now dropped as developers suspend or cancel projects, encouraging producers to look for business overseas.

"We all know the construction boom has gone, some emirates still have projects, like Abu Dhabi, but with the huge capacity of our area, we need to find different markets," said Robert Holtkamp, the director of sales and marketing at Gulf Extrusions. Mr Holtkamp added that the company was also targeting different sectors for its products, including the European car industry. "The thing that is very important for us is that we diversify our products and markets."

Gulf Extrusions, part of Al Ghurair Group, produces 65,000 tons of aluminium at its Dubai plant a year and is looking at boosting this by up to 30,000 through expansion into Pakistan, India, China and North Africa. Still, Mr Holtkamp said the company had no plans to slim down its operations in the UAE. "We still have fairly good demand from the UAE. The panic situation is over and there have been signs of stabilisation," he said.

But the slowdown means the emirate will be scaling back on its ambitions to produce a million tonnes by next year. Dubai currently produces around 900,000 tons a year. Demand for aluminium in the UAE in 2007 stood at 450,000 tons a year. "It will take a long time to restore 2007 levels," said Mr Holtkamp. agiuffrida@thantional.ae