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SMD-AMA sees healthy growth prospects next year

Dec 05,2013

In Press: Oil & Gas / Gulf Indusrty Fair Newsletter

The Structural and Mechanical Division (SMD) of Ahmed Mansoor Al-Aali Group (AMA), which has one of the largest state-of-the-art fabrication and mechanic facilities of its kind in the Middle East, is optimistic about growth prospects in 2014 even as it moves forward as an export-led organisation leveraging from its inherent strengths and core competencies in Bahrain to spearhead further growth in Saudi Arabia, the wider Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and the international markets.

At the helm of SMD is Paul Taylor, general manager, who joined the company in June 2013 bringing to it more than three decades of senior management experience in the global steel fabrication and process industries business.

Taylor’s experience in the Middle East dates back to 1979 when he first worked with Zamil Steel in Dammam helping develop the steel business in Saudi Arabia for export markets which was then in its infancy.

Taylor also worked in South Africa with the Hillside smelter as well as the Dubal, Sohar and Emal smelters building his career in the aluminium sector as well as specialist fabrication and structural steel applications in downstream industries to power stations.

Since its establishment, SMD has undertaken major project work in Bahrain including the Line 4 and Line 5 expansions in the Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) smelters and extensive fabrication work with GPIC, Bapco, Tatweer Petroleum and EWA (Electricity and Water Authority).

Regionally, SMD has supplied specialist fabrications including pot shells (the steel containers where electrolysis takes place in aluminium smelters) for Emal, Abu Dhabi; Dubal, Dubai; Qatalum, Doha and Sohar, Oman.

SMD’s strong technical credentials and a host of project references for quality assured fabrications and competitive prices are highly valued and have helped to build a formidable international reputation in the region, North America and Africa, says Taylor in an interview with OGN.  

SMD is progressing well in Saudi Arabia working on significant projects including Ma’aden and the aluminium smelter built at Ras Al Khair, north of Jubail. SMD is approved by Sabic and the Saudi Electric Company (SEC) and is set for approvals from Saudi Aramco later this year. SMD continues to work in partnership with many of the region’s leading EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractors including Bechtel, JGC and Sidem.

“As well as our inherent strengths in general fabrication and structural steel, SMD-AMA is certainly now acknowledged as a world leader in the supply of pot shells to the global aluminium industry outside of China. From our Bahrain facilities SMD has the capacity to produce up to 1,500 pot shells annually and one of our strategic export markets is North America where we have significant supply contracts in place in Canada. SMD continues to build its reputation as a cost-effective quality exporter of pot shells in the aluminium smelter business,” adds Taylor.

SMD supplied more than 700 pot shells to the Ma’aden aluminium plant as well as aluminium duct work directly to the Ma’aden smelter.

“Additionally, SMD is involved in a wider range of fabrication, structural steel and installation capabilities for industrial facilities, downstream industries and power stations. This involves the fabrication of super-structures, plate work and specialist mechanical services all drawing from SMD’s proven track record and experience across the Middle East,” says Taylor.

At the same time, Taylor continues to reorganise SMD by streamlining the workforce, investing in new equipment and controlling costs. Taylor is looking at new investments that will facilitate his competitive bids in different markets.

Currently, SMD is actively looking at world-scale steel fabrication and structural steel projects in Angola and also discussing partnering with Vorst Alpine for a steel mill in Texas.

The scale of the SMD fabrication facilities in Bahrain are vast spreading over 150,000 sq metres and acknowledged as one of the best in the Middle East by virtue of its state-of-the-art equipment with more than 40,000 sq m of covered workshop areas including nine separate specialist workshops, fabrication shops and enclosed blasting facility and covered paint shop.

More than 500 people are employed at SMD utilising the latest CNC cutting machines with plasma heads to measuring and testing equipment. Quality assurance and quality management processes are implicit across the organisation based upon a policy of continuous improvement in technical knowledge, investment in technology and training.

Taylor emphasises the importance of SMD’s strategic location for the Saudi Arabia market and adds that it is able to provide competitively priced total fabrication solutions to an increasing number of regional and international clients and using a multi-modal approach to delivering its fabrications by barge.

“SMD has a successful track record of structural and mechanical fabrication based upon our capacity and expertise. With our proven technical expertise, SMD has a range of capabilities and the ability to fabricate anything and diversify accordingly. Currently, SMD is actively looking at the production of oilfield skids, overhead cranes to manufacturing truck chassis and truck bodies. With our pre-qualifications in place for key clients and our strong relations with leading EPC contractors I am optimistic for larger scale projects and can see new opportunities in 2014 for our growth strategy in Saudi Arabia,” says Taylor.

SMD’s competitive edge is built around quality assured production with intensive manufacturing efficiencies and cost controls in place. With the high reputation of SMD in the region and internationally, Taylor is confident that the company can deliver its quality fabrications competitively through its EPC partners and with the Alba Line 6 on the horizon in Bahrain is looking for volume business in the years ahead.  

SMD was established in 1990 and is an integral division of AMA Group which will celebrate 60 years as one of Bahrain’s leading integrated contracting, trading and manufacturing conglomerates in 2014.

SMD-AMA undertakes general fabrication, installation and equipment erection for larger scale industrial and process industries projects as well as specialist civil works and has a capacity exceeding 40,000 tonnes per annum with ISO 9001, 14001, OHSAS 18001, and ASME accreditations.

SMD fabricates process and utility piping; process equipment including heat-exchangers, pressure vessels and storage tanks; heavy structural steel; pot-shells and super structures; furnaces, stacks, ducts and miscellaneous steel; and metering skids.

Ahmed Mansoor Al-A’Ali Group (AMA), one of the largest and most reputed conglomerates in Bahrain founded in 1954, is engaged in a wide range of businesses from manufacturing, contracting, trading to real estate. The group employs more than 3,000 personnel and has built its reputation for reliability, integrity and performance in the public and private sectors over six decades.