MG-Group Chairman, Salim Al-Mashekhi

New steel rolling mill to come up in Sohar

Dhofar Steel to source raw material from Iran for its rebar manufacturing plant

Its plans to invest in the establishment of a steel rolling mill in Sohar Industrial Estate, has announced Dhofar Steel, part of a well-diversified Omani corporate group.  The raw material will be sourced from Iran.

The multi–million rial investment will see an existing billet manufacturing plant at Sohar upgraded and expanded into a major rolling mill with its output of reinforced steel bars (rebars) targeted primarily at regional markets, Group Chairman, Salim Al-Mashekhi, said.

Speaking to the Observer, Al-Mashekhi said the launch of a rolling mill help position the growth of a strong and well-respected Omani brand in the domestic and regional markets.

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“We are in discussion with our strategic partners in Iran for raw materials and Turkey for equipment, to achieve our objectives” Group Chairman, Salim Al-Mashekhi, pointed out.

Importantly, a Steel  Melt Shop intergrated with the existing plant will allow for iron ore to the imported from Iran as raw material for the project, the Group Chairman said. “Raw material will be sourced from Iran in the form of billets. However, as we also have a Melt Shop, we can import iron ore at competitive rates from Iran. We have already secured commitments in this regard from a top Iranian government official ,who had visited the Sultanate recently,” he added.

According to the well-known Omani businessman, Omani-branded products are generally well-regarded in regional markets. “We have increasingly found that our steel products, manufactured according to Omani specifications and bearing the ‘Dhofar Steel’ brand, are being well-received in regional markets, and we feel confident that our rebars will enjoy robust sales as well when we commence production.”

Significantly, the planned launch of a new rolling mill will also be seen to help strengthen domestic production capacity of a commodity that is billed as strategically vital to the nation’s ongoing modernization and economic development. Reinforced steel bars (rebars), along with cement, are important ingredients necessary to sustain the growth of the construction and infrastructure industry, which is one of the mainstays of the economy.

Group Chairman,  Al-Mashekhi , pointed out that Oman imports around one million metric tonnes of rebars on a yearly basis — volumes that will be partially offset once the new rolling mill comes on stream during the course of this year.

“Notwithstanding the current economic downturn, we expect domestic demand for rebars to be sustained by construction growth, as well as government investment in infrastructure projects. Nevertheless, we are looking at allocating only around 30 per cent of Dhofar Steel’s output to the local market. The balance 70 per cent will be targeted at export markets within the Arabian region, Middle East and Africa where our products are already performing well.”

Dhofar Steel is the latest addition to the well-assorted business portfolio of MG Group, which has interests spanning energy services, mining and construction materials, Information Technology, automotive trade, and projects and investments.