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22. August 2007

Saudi steelmaker Al-Tuwairqi moves in rapid-expansion mode

Saudi steelmaker Al-Tuwairqi Group, formerly a relatively small producer of angles for the domestic market, has recently pursued a fast-track growth strategy that has the company involved in several steel and raw materials projects simultaneously. 

Notably, the company said in statements on its own web site and that of a subsidiary that it plans to produce steel in Pakistan, where it has two mill projects underway and, in addition, is constructing a direct, reduced, iron plant. The company is also building a DRI complex in Saudi Arabia and one in Bahrain.

The steelmaker plans to build a mill to produce billet in the Bin Qasim section of Karachi, having signed a memorandum of understanding with the Pakistani government earlier this year. Al-Tuwairqi indicated that it will invest at least $318 million in the project.

The company has also taken a 30% stake in a joint venture that has acquired a 75% stake in Pakistan Steel. The consortium includes Pakistan's Arif Habib Group and Russia's Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works. The company plans to boost production, according to a statement on the web site of its UK-based Thamesteel subsidiary, but did not give details. The company indicated, however, that its Pakistan projects will be well-positioned to help rebuild infrastructure in neighboring Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Al-Tuwairqi's DRI plant in Pakistan will produce about 1.3 million mt/year of DRI using both the hot and cold production methods supplied by US technology provider Midrex. The plant will be operated by a subsidiary, Tuwairqi Steel, and is scheduled to enter production in 2008. It will initially produce only cold DRI. The company may add production capacity for hot briquetted iron in the future.

In Saudi Arabia, the company is nearing full capacity for the first of two relocated DRI plants at Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and is also about to begin construction of a DRI plant in Karachi, Pakistan, according information released by Al-Tuwairqi and Midrex, which is supplying technology for both projects.

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