Egypt's Sewedy bullish on wind investment, considers solar
Egypt's El Sewedy Cables is looking into supplying wind energy projects in Egypt, the Middle East and African markets to tap growing demand and suitable climates, its investor relations director said. Research shows that the world market for wind turbine installations was worth about 45 billion Euros in 2009 and that global installed capacity will more than double to 340 gigawatts by 2013. "Wind energy is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Everyone wants it, and Egypt has high potential to produce such energy," Ahmed El Homosani, Sewedy's investor relations director, told Reuters in an interview. Sewedy, the largest Arab cable maker by market value, started operating a 40 million euro wind tower plant in Ain Sukhna on Egypt's Red Sea coast to manufacture equipment for electricity-generating wind farms. "Wind energy does not cost a lot to produce, and its price now is very suitable as a source of energy," Homosani said. The firm has also invested some 20 million Euros in a turbine factory in Tenth of Ramadan City, on the outskirts of Cairo, which is due to become operational within the next seven to eight months. Officials say Egypt's combined oil and gas reserves will last the most populous Arab country roughly three decades, encouraging a shift to alternative energy sources, including wind, solar and nuclear. The North African country, an oil and gas producer, has been developing wind power along its eastern Red Sea coast. It has wind farms at Zafarana and Hurghada in the area and has so far installed capacity of 430 megawatts of wind energy. Egypt expects to see its wind power capacity reach 7,200 megawatts by 2020 and is already boosting the capacity to 550 megawatts by May.
Qatar and VW agree to more cooperation
German carmaker Volkswagen AG says it plans to extend its cooperation with the Emirate of Qatar especially in research and development and education. Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, said the Wolfsburg-based company foresees possible research cooperation into new materials, energy production and storage, fuel economy optimization in engines, and establishing a vehicle materials test laboratory. Qatar Holding LLC, a state-backed investment company, owns around 17 per cent of VW's shares. The VW shareholding is the Emirate's largest single investment.
Japan offers 38.9bn yen in loans for wind power project in Egypt
Japan has decided to provide up to 38.86 billion yen in loans to help Egypt finance a project to build one of the world's largest wind farms, Japanese officials said. Japanese Ambassador to Egypt Kaoru Ishikawa and Egyptian International Cooperation Minister Fayza Aboulnaga signed a document formalizing the loan program in the suburbs of Cairo. The loans, with an annual interest rate of 0.3 per cent and a redemption period of 40 years, will help to build a 220-megawatt wind farm in the Gulf of el-Zayt on the Red Sea by 2015. It is Japan's largest foreign aid program for a wind power project. Egypt is aiming to generate 20 per cent of its power from wind and other renewable energy sources by 2020 as part of efforts to combat global warming.
GIC helps in opening of pipes factory in Oman
The Gulf Investment Corporation announced the opening of the international Gulf factory for producing pipes, at a total cost of US$112.6 million. GIC’s Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Hisham Abdulrazzaq Al-Razzuqi told the press that the factory would have a production capacity of 250,000 tons annually, adding that such project was part of the GIC’s support of local GCC projects. The factory would be production of carbon-steal pipes through fifth generation pipe manufacturing methods, said the official who added that two Omani companies had also invested in the establishment of the factory. He added that the factory would be covering the local and GCC needs of such pipes. Gulf Investment Corporation is a leading financial institution offering a comprehensive range of financial services to promote private enterprise and support economic growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.
Egypt, Saudi to drive Middle East steel demand
Egypt and Saudi Arabia will drive growth in steel consumption this year in the Middle East and North Africa region, where booming construction and infrastructure spending will lift demand. But demand in Dubai, once a major powerhouse with its insatiable steel appetite, is unlikely to rise in 2010, with banks still reluctant to lend for new construction projects in the indebted emirate and its warehouses filled with steel. In 2009, North Africa's steel demand looked almost immune to one of the worst downturns in the US$500 billion global steel industry, which forced producers worldwide to nearly halve output as demand evaporated. Egypt's banks, flush with cash despite the credit crunch, and government stimulus spending on infrastructure, helped keep construction projects running, analysts say. Housing shortages in the region also kept demand buoyant. "In North Africa, lending is available, people do not have a major problem accessing the cash," said George Matta, chief marketing officer at Egypt's biggest steelmaker, Ezz Steel. "There are major infrastructure projects in Egypt due to housing demand and the government has been spending heavily in these areas," Matta said. Rising demand will allow steel producers to raise prices this year, analysts say, citing Saudi Arabia's SABIC, and Turkey's Erdemir, alongside Ezz. Matta sees apparent steel consumption growing by 8-10 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, after 2009's 1 per cent dip. "The construction market in Egypt is very tight, the demand is high," said Ahmed Shams, vice president at equity research at EGG-Hermes. "Egypt was among the top five exporters of cement, now we're importing due to high demand." Saudi Arabia and Iraq are the other high fliers in the region, driven by their booming infrastructure spending. "The Saudi market remains the most vital in the region, driven by demand for commercial, residential and industrial development," said Abu Dhabi's Emirates Steel Industries (ESI).