The MoU was between two sponsors - Bruglass Sdn Bhd and float glass technology provider and equipment supplier Stein Heurtey, a subsidiary of Aompagnie de Fives Lille from France -yesterday morning at the Empire Hotel and Country Club.
The signing is a key step for Hamidjojo Development Corp Sdn Bhd as the project developer to put up a 600TPD Float Glass Plant in Brunei and to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study and environment impact assessment.
Besides boosting Brunei's export revenue, the plant will also generate hundreds of jobs for locals.
According to Dato Mohd Alimin Abdul Wahab, Chairman of Bruglass Sdn Bhd, the plant is expected to take in about 230 people in direct employment.
Indirect employment, which is part of the spin off, including transport of raw materials and products to the port, containerisation and mining and environment remediation should provide three times additional labour services, he said and added training will come as a priority in localisation effort even before the first day of the operation.
With the feasibility study expected to be ready by October this year, construction work on the proposed plant could begin next year if financial requirements are met within the short period. And within three years' time, the factory is expected to be operational, the chairman said.
Dato Mohd Alimin said the glass plant has also generated interest from one of the biggest glass producers and traders in China and the Emerging Markets Partnership for equity participation in the project.
Signing on behalf of Bruglass Sdn Bhd was Dato Mohd Alimin while representing Stein Heurtey France was Mr Francois Pahmer, VP, Glass Division and inking for Stein Heurtey Metallurgical Equipment Corporation China (a joint venture between Stein Heurtey Glass and China Metallurgical Equipment Corporation) was its Managing Director, Mr Wei Bao Hua.
On hand to witness the signing were Mr Patrick Bonneville, the French Ambassador to Brunei, and Mr Rubianto Hamijojo, MD of Bruglass, and other foreign dignitaries.
The Float Glass Plant is expected to produce float glass or sheet glass with thickness varying from two to 12 mm generally used in building construction, automobile and other specialty industries like mirrors, table tops.
The basic raw material required to produce float glass is silica sand and natural gas as energy for melting down the sand. Both are available in Brunei. Baring five per cent of the finished product the rest is for export market.
Major part of the financing of the investment shall come in the form of export credit. Discussions have been on going with COFACE (French Credit Insurance Co.) and with SINOSUR (Chinese Export Credit Finance Institution) for the portion of the equipment supply from France and China.
Needing approximately 30 hectares of industrial land and 15 MVA of electricity with 10,000 CM/Hr of natural gas, the proposed plant has been allocated land at Sungai Bera, which is in close proximity to the silica sand at Tutong District and natural gas at Anduki.
If everything falls into place, Stein Heurtey, France would undertake the project as EPC contractor including the training of local personnel and providing assistance in plant operational management.
An off-take agreement with the Chinese partners will be signed in due course so that export of all the 165,000 TPA of the initial production of the first line will be guaranteed.