Saint Gobain's US $178mn job

BIG 5: Float glass production factory bids to be invited in January 2008.

Clear vision: Sylvain Bredin
Clear vision: Sylvain Bredin

French glass manufacturer Saint Gobain is looking for contractors to build its US $178 million (AED 654 million) float glass production facility in Egypt.

Tenders for the 750,000m2 facility will be issued in January 2008, with the contract expected to be awarded in the first quarter of the same year.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2009.

The facility is to be operated in joint venture with El Mansour and El Maghraby Investment and Development Company (MMID) - an Egyptian group developing activities in industry, real estate and finance.

The new float line will be built in Ain El Sokhna, which is 120km east from Cairo and 40km from Suez, along the Red Sea.

Speaking to Construction Week on the second day of the Big 5 show, Sylvain Bredin, vice president, sales and marketing, Saint Gobain said: "We chose Egypt as we felt it was the most ideal location as we're targeting the Egyptian market along with the Middle East and Africa.

"At the moment we import glass from India, Spain and China for the Middle East, so with this production facility coming online in the second half of 2009, we won't have to do this anymore."

Bredin added that the new facility would produce 270,000 tonnes of glass per year with half of that going to the Egyptian market and the other half spread out over the Middle East market.

The company expects to get 10% of the Egyptian market share once the new facility begins production.

In 2006, the company also began selling its patented furnaces, which it previously kept for its own production, to other companies around the world.

Saint Gobain has got a strong presence in the Middle East with contracts to supply architectural glass to projects in Dubai and Qatar.

Some of the projects include the Doha Sports Centre in Qatar, Al Seef Tower on Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Kazim Tower and Executive Heights.

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