The newly built Saudi Polyolefins Company (SPC) in which Tasnee has a stake through NPIC

The newly built Saudi Polyolefins Company (SPC) in which Tasnee has a stake through NPIC

A meritorious year

One of Saudi Arabia’s leading establishments plans greater investments in petrochemicals even as it strategises on its investment holdings

Sep - Oct 2004

National Industrialisation Company (NIC) or Tasnee, its new name following adoption by the company of a new logo, saw its biggest project, the construction of a plant in Jubail for producing propylene and polypropylene, completed earlier this year.

The Jubail plant is designed to produce 450,000 tonnes per year (tpy) each of propylene and polypropylene. US contractor ABB Lummus and South Korea’s Samsung worked on the project which had a total investment of SR2 billion  ($533 million).
The plant belongs to Saudi Polyolefins Company (SPC), a joint venture of National Petrochemical Industrialisation Company (NPIC) (75 per cent) and Basell (25 per cent). Tasnee has a 51 per cent stake in NPIC.
NPIC has established an affiliate company, National Industrialisation Petrochemical Marketing Company, Riyadh, for marketing NPIC’s quota of the products produced by SPC.
Discussing future petrochemical projects, the Tasnee board said Saudi Aramco had allocated a large amount of methane gas for the production of acetic acid and methanol, the facilities for which will be located in Jubail. It said negotiations were ongoing with foreign partners and technology suppliers to implement the projects.
Saudi Aramco had also allocated ethane and propane for another Tasnee complex to produce ethylene and polyethylene in addition to an appreciable amount of propylene that could be used for the expansion of the current polypropylene project.
In an important development during the fiscal year 2003-2004, the company finalised the purchase of Al Sha’ar Trading and Contracting Company’s 33 per cent share in National Titanium Dioxide Company (Cristal), taking its stake to 66 per cent. Tasnee earlier had 33 per cent ownership.
The company is already one of the world’s important suppliers of the white titanium dioxide pigment that has wide domestic and industrial applications. Its pigments are used for waterborne or solvent-based productions, industrial coatings, decorative coatings, inks, plastics, floor tiles and some kinds of adhesives.
In 2002 the company expanded its plant in Yanbu from 75,000 sq m to 100,000 sq m and raised the titanium dioxide capacity from 70,000 tpy to 100,000 tpy, making it the largest privately owned chemical company in Saudi Arabia.
Approximately 60 per cent of the production is exported to 57 countries, the major markets being Europe, the Arab world, Africa and the Far East. The company reports that small quantities of the pigment go to the US.
Cristal produces titanium dioxide from imported rutile through the chloride route. The latest expansion also saw a doubling of the chlorine plant. Excess chlorine is sold to other companies through Cristal’s subsidiary Allied Chemical Centre. The chloride route is credited with providing titanium dioxide with the superior whiteness, brightness and light particle size control that go well with manufacturers for the production of coatings and plastics which account for some 80 per cent of the world titanium dioxide market.
Commenting on the completed Jubail project and the acquisition of Al Sha’ar Trading’s shares in Cristal, Tasnee chairman Mubarak bin Abdullah Al Khafrah said: “These accomplishments are considerable steps forward in achieving the company’s objectives and have effectively pushed forward the strengthening of its financial position.
“This in turn (created) a great international image which convinced overseas investors to count on our company as a reliable partner.” Al Khafrah described 2003-2004 as a “meritorious” year and one that prefaced a harvest to come.
The company’s financial position appears most comfortable with net profits for the year climbing to SR136 million, a 151 per cent increase over the previous year.
Total assets were SR3.88 billion compared with SR2.22 billion in the previous year.
Tasnee was formed in 1985 to invest in industrial projects and facilitate a transfer of technology to the Middle East and to Saudi Arabia in particular.
It now has 27 companies under its fold, in 10 of which it has a stake of over 50 per cent. Companies in which it has the largest stake, 97 per cent, are Al Rowad National Plastic and National Worldwide Industrial Advancement Company. Tasnee has an 80 per cent stake in National Batteries Company (Battariat) and a 71.4 per cent stake in National Lead Smelting Company  (Rassas).
As well as the 66 per cent share in Cristal and the 51 per cent ownership in NPIC and its subsidiaries, Tasnee has major stakes in: National Operation and Industrial Services Company (Khadamat) (58.33 per cent), National Inspection and Technical Testing (Fahs) (56.47 per cent); Arabian Axles and Foundries and Spare Parts (52.98 per cent) and National Metal Manufacturing and Casting Company (Maadaniah) (50.42 per cent).
Al Rowad, which expanded its processing capacity by installing four injection-moulding lines and now boasts a 40,000 tpy capacity, has penetrated the new markets of Iran, Turkey and Ukraine.
The company’s two plants, one in Riyadh and the other in Dammam, make sheets of polycarbonate, acrylic, polyethylene and polystyrene, among other things.
 It has also expanded the recycling capacity of industrial waste plastic to 12,000 tpy from 7,500 tpy
National Batteries Company has raised its annual capacity from 760,000 to 900,000 auto batteries to meet increasing demand and maximise its share in the local market. It is contemplating doubling its capacity with its sights on exports.
Arabian Axles Foundries and Spare Parts has started manufacturing at its steel blast furnace items used in cement factories and other heavy industries.
The company has also begun producing aerial suspension axles and other new products including large-size hammers. Facilities are being upgraded to produce more car axles.
Maadaniah increased its production capacity to 40,607 tonnes. The manufacture of spring wires and PC strands has increased by 30,000 tonnes.
The National Company for Lead Smelting was able to complete the construction of a new furnace and double its capacity. The company has also established a collection unit in Jeddah for used car batteries.
Tasnee sold during 2003-2004 all its shares in Saudi Venture Industrial Capital Group.  Its ownership in the company had been 2.42 per cent. Tasnee also sold most of its shares in the National Company for Glass Industries (Zoujaj), bringing down it ownership percentage to 2.51 from 25.72.
The company has retained its 15 per cent ownership of high-tech Advanced Electronics Company (AEC).  Riyadh-based AEC has accomplished some of the Gulf’s most sophisticated projects in defence and telecommunications through technology transfer from the world’s most reputed organisations.

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