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Bahrain looks for fresh funds for its downstream

by Jyotsna Ravishankar on Jan 9, 2013

The investment climate in Bahrain is being revamped to woo international investors

Bahrain is trying hard at the minute to regain its financial hub status in the Middle East. In a move similar to its strategy that led to the financial sector boom in early nineties, Bahrain is investing in the production of plastics polymers to cater to the annual plastics consumption growth in the Gulf.

A large number of Bahraini investors, including banks, manufacturers and funding companies, are investing into the rapidly growing GCC polymers industry.

This was discussed at a recent press conference organised in Manama by Messe Düsseldorf Germany and Al Fajer Information and Services, organizers of Arabplast, the Middle East’s trade show for rubber, plastics and petrochemicals.

Speakers at the press conference emphasized the leading role played by Bahrain’s petrochemicals industry which channels its output to more than 150 countries worldwide.

Speakers also appreciated investments made by Bahraini business community into the “neighbouring” polymers industry which is similar to the country’s tremendous efforts that led to the financial boom in early nineties, and helped positioning the Kingdom as the financial hub of the Gulf region as far as offshore banking and Islamic financial services are concerned.

The investments in plastics industry nowadays could reap similar results, according to Satish Khanna, General Manager, Al Fajer Information and Services.

Khanna noted at the press conference: “Bahrain is increasing its share of the production of petrochemicals which is becoming a key driver of the Kingdom’s economy and which enhances its economy diversification drive.

“Even though just 20% of the GCC petrochemical products are plastics, they account for 70% in terms of value. It had become a well known fact that the region will emerge as the second highest per-capita consumer of plastics in the world by 2020.

As organisers of the biggest plastics trade fair for MENA region, we urge GCC governments to encourage the public and private sectors to increase the production of plastics polymers. We need to be ready from now for the rapidly increasing per capita consumer figures in the GCC.”

The petrochemical industry is the backbone of industrial development in Bahrain and plays pivotal role in the Kingdom’s economy.

The industry has contributed to creating new downstream industries in Bahrain such as chemicals, detergents, paint, medical and industrial gases, plastics, synthetic sponges, glass and heat insulators.

All these form a major part of an industrial sector that is attracting private sector investors due to lower investment and high profitability.

Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association said in a report earlier that annual plastics consumption in the GCC would grow 22% from 3.3 million mt in 2011 to 5.5 million mt in 2015.

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