$200m Glass Venture Agreed For Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi-based Al Hamed Enterprises, a diversified business group, has entered into a $200 million (Dh734 million) joint venture with the UK's Pilkington Group to manufacture float glass, officials said.

Construction of the plant at the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD II) with initial capacity of 550 tonnes per day will begin shortly with completion scheduled for late 2008.

"It is our pleasure to announce the formation of the joint venture with Pilkington, a world leader in glass manufacturing industry. It is our strategy at Al Hamed Enterprises to bring the world's prime expertise into the country that would help build the local expertise," said Shaikh Shaya Al Hamed, chairman of Al Hamed Enterprises.

"The $200 million project will produce the latest range of Pilkington clear and tinted glasses for the building products market and automotive glass markets for the region."

Glass will be produced for the local and regional markets, he added.

"We have long wanted to establish ourselves in the centre of this attractive and vibrant market place. We are now delighted to have formed a partnership with Al Hamed and have no doubts that together we can offer the local markets unrivalled quality and service using the very latest technology," said Stuart Chambers, chief executive of Pilkington Group.

Pilkington, now partly owned by Japan's NSG Group either directly owns or manages some 46 float glass lines worldwide. Pilkington engineers have recently completed new float lines in Brazil and most recently Russia and have further lines under construction in Iran and China.

The UAE currently has some float glass manufacturing facilities but the market demand is still high.

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