INDUSTRIAL INNOVATION

Saudi Arabia 2020 | INDUSTRY & DEFENSE | B2B

Developing the best financial mechanisms for growth is just as important to building out the country's biggest industrial players as adopting the latest technological innovations.

Mutlaq H. Al-Morished
MUTLAQ H. AL-MORISHED
CEO
National Industrial Company (TASNEE)
Volker Hellberg
VOLKER HELLBERG
CEO
Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions

What have been some of your major developments?

MUTLAQ H. AL-MORISHED We shifted our ownership of Cristal to Tronox and now own 25.4% of the combined entity. Our future return from this will be better than what we got from Cristal for a simple reason, which is money is always made upstream. Tronox is big in the mining of ilmenite, rutile, and zircon. By merging we achieved synergy with the full downstream and upstream, a merger that works financially in our favor, as the price is decided by the market. We move into the upstream through cash and shares. Tronox also benefited because they have a feedstock surplus and a product shortage. We were the opposite. By combining the two, we are both now balanced. Another benefit for both companies is that we use some of the best chloride-based technology in the world. Normally, combining technologies of two large companies can be complicated; however, as we are both chloride-based, we have a great synergy. Our international presences also complement each other. We are in China, the UK, France, and Brazil, and they are in Holland.

VOLKER HELLBERG We are organized in four business units to have the best allocation of our specialists: cement technologies, chemical and process technologies, mining technologies, and services. As a complete supplier for engineering, procurement, construction, and service of industrial plants and systems, we offer the Kingdom a wide range of advanced and proven solutions. We currently manage some of the largest projects in the cement market, including the plant construction for Yamama Cement, one of the largest manufacturers in the Middle East. With our strong presence in the country, we are well positioned to execute projects of such magnitude. We have provided crushers to pretty much every cement plant in the Kingdom. Our portfolio includes cost-efficient and sustainable solutions for mining, processing, and handling raw materials. We are also pursuing projects in the fertilizer and petrochemical sectors. Our projects are all over the Kingdom, from the north to the east.

What about your source facilities?

MHAM Local sourcing is done only in the petrochemical sector. Typically, the petrochemical industry does not mix with petroleum companies, with the recent takeover of SABIC by Saudi Aramco the notable exception. The global oil companies are diversifying their chemical assets. Some try to return with shale gas, but that is opportunistic and not necessarily strategic. Chevron, Texaco, BP, and other big players were into chemical products 15 to 20 years ago, but today they have left behind a lot of their chemical operations. In refineries, they have selectively maintained chemicals at a minimum level, and only for specific purposes. Our push for Tasnee is not to diversify or maximize, but rather to increase shareholder value by either growing the company to reflect a higher share price or by giving more dividends. Being the biggest is not what is important; being the most profitable is the name of the game. If you look at the creative structure of Tronox, it is one of the first from this part of the world. We merged part of a Saudi company with a New York-based company for equity and cash, all of which took great financial engineering ingenuity.

VH We recently signed a partnership with Ma'aden for fertilizer production technology at a new plant. As part of this, Ma'aden will use the dual-pressure ammonia process developed by thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions in a new ammonia plant at its existing fertilizer complex. The process is already being used with great success in the first two ammonia plants, which are highly reliable and eco-friendly. This dual-pressure ammonia process reduces energy consumption by up to 4%. Since 1994 alone, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions has developed and built new ammonia plants with a total production capacity of more than 14 million tons. This new plant in Saudi Arabia will have a capacity of 3,300 tons of ammonia per day and is scheduled to be completed in early 2022. We also have strong relationships with other partners in the fertilizer sector, such as SABIC. Our technology was able to increase the capacity of their plant from 3,300 to 3,600 tons, making it one of the largest operating plants in the world.