Dubai Aluminium Company Limited (Dubal), the world’s seventh largest producer of premium quality aluminium, has set its sights on increasing sales volumes to Europe, said officials, noting that 23 per cent of its annual production is already earmarked for the market.
Europe’s demand for aluminium, estimated at about six million metric tonnes per annum (mtpa), far exceeds the region’s own production capacity of three million mtpa, resulting in a net shortage that is currently satisfied through metal imports, said Walid Al Attar, general manager for marketing and sales at Dubal.
And import volumes are likely to grow in the foreseeable future, he added, reflecting a combination of ever-increasing consumption levels and the probable shutdown of smelters in Europe due to higher energy prices and environmental concerns.
“Europe is an important part of Dubal’s future growth strategy, which includes significant growth in our annual production volumes through lateral investment and involvement in green-field smelter developments across the Middle East and North Africa region,” said Al Attar.
“Through our joint venture relationship with Mubadala Development – Emal International – we have already announced three such projects in Abu Dhabi, Algeria and Saudi Arabia respectively.
“Europe is a critical market for the sale of the additional metal yield from these smelters, especially as there are many logistics and cost benefits to end-users on the continent.”
In 2007, Dubal sold 916,000 metric tonnes of high quality finished aluminium products worldwide, of which some 214,000 metric tonnes were shipped to Europe.
Extrusion billets, used primarily in the construction, automotive and industrial sectors, accounted for 50 per cent of the tonnage bought by customers in Europe.
Sultan Al Sabri, senior marketing manager, Europe and US at Dubal, said: “In terms of geographic and economic perspectives, Dubal is ideally located to serve Europe.
We have enjoyed excellent growth since 1996, despite the six per cent duty. The EU-GCC FTA will no doubt pave the way to even greater growth.”