Meethaq Islamic Bank, the Islamic banking arm of Bank Muscat, signed a financial agreement with SAFE Alloys, a Sohar Free Zone Company which intends to set up a low carbon ferro chrome production plant at the free zone.
The agreement was signed by Sulaiman Al Harthy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Islamic Banking at Bank Muscat, and Mohammad Bilal Abudayyeh, Managing Director of SAFE Alloys, the bank said in a statement.
The investment cost of the project is around $14 million and it will be set up on 56,000 square meters. This plant will be the first of its kind in the Middle East and will create around 100 jobs in its first phase.
The second phase, which is expected to begin during the next five years, shall witness an investment of around $18 million and provide 150 jobs bringing the total of employment opportunities to 250 jobs.
The project has the capacity to produce 16,500 tonnes of low carbon ferro chrome per annum and will be exported to Europe, the US, South Korea, Japan and India. Low carbon ferro chrome is produced from chrome ore and lime and silicon metal and is a used in many stainless steel industries and special steels, aerospace, oil and gas and automotive industries.
Demand for low carbon ferro chrome is growing on the back of high demand for stainless steel, aerospace and automotive industries reaching 1 million tonnes per annum.
Al Harthy said, “The project is one of the most important and first of its kind in the Sultanate aiming at attracting foreign investments to the Sultanate, as well as enhancing the position and location of the Sohar Free Zone as an economic and investment destination in the region. Meethaq has many achievements contributing to the growth and development of the sultanate’s economy. It extends support to all key economic sectors with innovative Sharia-based products and is well positioned to sustain Islamic financial expertise.”
Al Harthy said that this agreement represented a major chance for Meethaq to diversify its assets.
Abudayyeh said “The agreement came to strengthen our collaboration with local partners and maximise the value of the national economy.”
Abudayyeh also said the growing demand for low carbon ferro chrome will make this cooperation with Meethaq Islamic Bank a fantastic opportunity to enhance the position of the Sohar Free Zone and promote it as an economic and investment destination in the region.
Meethaq Islamic Bank has signed a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding to provide financing facilities for a number of companies and factories. Meethaq is committed to supporting the strategic national initiative to identify opportunities aimed at attracting investments in line with Oman’s Economic Vision 2020 blueprint.