MANAMA: A major factory producing 585,000 tonnes of sugar a year is to be set up in Bahrain, it was revealed yesterday.
The Arabian Sugar Company, which is building the BD56.7 million ($150m) plant in the Hidd Industrial Area, was registered in Bahrain last week.
The factory will be set up within the Bahrain Industrial Investment Park and designed with European technology to produce the highest quality 'Icumsa 45' sugar, said company managing director Anmar Jalil Al Arayyed.
Construction has already begun on the site and the factory is expected to be up and running sometime next year.
The Arabian Sugar Company being is promoted by Tanmiyat Aloula Holdings - a Bahrain firm focusing on investments in the industrial sector.
Its partners include the Social Insurance Organisation, International Investment Bank, Kuwait International Bank, Almohaisen Group, Al Nafea Group, Albabtain Group and other high calibre shareholders from the GCC as well as a partner from Spain.
"A UK-based sugar technology and engineering firm, Sugar Knowledge International (SKIL) will manage the project until its completion," said Mr Al Arayyed.
"It will overlook the complete construction of the plant and co-ordinate with the Spanish contractors."
Mr Al Arayyed said SKIL is a leader in the refinery engineering business and were chosen based on their long experience in the industry.
"The contractors were also chosen because of their international experience in setting up sugar refineries worldwide," he said.
Mr Al Arayyed said although the second half of 2008 was the beginning of a difficult period for fundraising, the project stood out to many investors as an alternative to what was being offered in the market.
"The support from our partners as well as the government for a project that uses state-of-the-art new equipment and limited energy resources has been critical," he said.
"We also plan to hire a substantial number of Bahrainis to produce this essential food requirement for Bahrain and the region and that fits Bahrain's 2030 economic vision."
Mr Al Arayyed said the project would not have been possible without the support of Bahrain's Economic Development Board (EDB) and its chief executive Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa.
"The EDB were instrumental in the project staying on the right track," he told the GDN.
"We are also grateful for the support of Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro, Works Minister Fahmi Al Jowder, Oil and Gas Affairs Minister and National Oil and Gas Authority chairman Abdulhussain Mirza, Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Minister Juma Al Kaabi and Electricity and Water Authority chief executive Abdulmajeed Al Awadhi."
Mr Al Arayyed said they all ensured all the required approvals were speedily obtained.