Alloy wheels unit planned

December 2015

A $150 million downstream aluminium facility is to be built in a joint venture between Mumtalakat, Bahrain’s investment arm, and an Indian firm Synergies Castings.

The aluminium casting and speciality alloy wheel manufacturing plant will have annual production capacity of around 25,000 tonnes, equivalent to around two million alloy wheels, said Mumtalakat’s chief executive Mahmood Al Kooheji. The plant, adjacent to the primary aluminium producer Alba, is expected to open in late 2017.

Mumtalakat will hold a 49 per cent stake in the enterprise and support the project by procuring all necessary approvals prior to production as well as making  land plots available, providing infrastructure support and facilitating access to local debt financing.

Synergies will be responsible for facility design and implementation, engineering support, operations, marketing and day to day management.

The proposed venture is Synergies’ first outside India, said its president Shekhar Movva. The company has been a long-term supplier of alloy wheels to car makers such as General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Tata.

“We were most impressed with the hot metal availability and the impressive infrastructural facilities and support available in Bahrain and by the progressive mindset and proactive approach of the Mumtalakat team and the Economic Development Board,” he said.

Movva also said demand for Synergies products has been growing at around 20 per cent year-on-year and the Bahrain plant would give it logistics advantages in shipping to Europe and the US not to mention savings due to lower energy costs and the US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement.

EDB chief executive Khalid Al Rumaihi said the enterprise would further develop Bahrain’s downstream aluminium sector.

“Alba currently has almost a million tonnes of capacity, which will be expanded by around 50 per cent with the addition of a sixth production line,” he said.

Al Kooheji said Mumtalakat has been working to diversify Alba’s consumer base, creating sufficient demand for the additional capacity and attracting foreign direct investment for projects in the downstream aluminium sector.

“The joint venture with Synergies is an example of this, and the facility once complete, will benefit from Alba’s increase in liquid aluminium production while strengthening Bahrain’s position at the forefront of the aluminium industry,” he added.

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