Saudi Arabia: Ma’aden builds aluminium industry from scratch
Mining company’s CEO hopes credit crunch won’t dent IPO and funding for expansion projects.
"Our project is not dependent on imported alumina and market fluctuation. Our inputs for the site – bauxite, caustic soda, energy – are local"
The build bigger approach is characteristic of the Gulf. Are too many aluminium smelters being built in the region? Abdallah Dabbagh, president and chief executive of Ma’aden, Saudi Arabia’s national mining company, thinks the proximity of huge hydrocarbon resources means they will all remain competitive on the global market. In any case, he tells Euromoney: "Ma’aden is not building an aluminium smelter. We are building the largest aluminium industry ever built at one time: we are building a mine, a refinery, a smelter, and a power plant." The Saudi capital market regulator announced in May that Ma’aden could launch an IPO in July. It will be one of the largest ever listings on the local exchange, raising almost $2.5 billion for a 50% sale of the firm. But the Saudi government will probably retain a majority holding, as two state pension funds have each been reserved 5% of the IPO.