Steely Determination Amid the Construction Boom
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Joshua Mann
From humble beginnings, Solb Steel is quickly emerging into a dynamic giant in the steel manufacturing industry in Saudi Arabia as it earmarks not just a consolidation, but a substantial expansion of its product range and production capacities in the near future.
Based in Jazan amid one of the country’s most modern and advanced industrial zones, the Company’s range of raw steel products – incorporating steel billets, re-bars and long products – have played a vital part in not just meeting the needs of specific large-scale projects in the country, but in addressing a major national trend and extensive consumer demand.
“Steel is considered as one of the major materials for infrastructural development in any country,” the Company explains. “Considering the currently ongoing construction boom in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in general, and in the southern region in particular, the Pan-Kingdom Investment Company has taken a decision to establish a regional centre for production of steel and allied products in the up-and-coming Jazan Economic City in the southern province of Jazan.
“Work to create this regional centre was taken up stage-wise, against a total investment cost of approximately 10 billion Saudi riyals. Construction of the first stage started in earnest during 2009, and the Pan-Kingdom Company shall – by end of the financial year, 2011 – commission the first stage and commence supply of steel billets and constructional quality re-bars.”
As part of the economic and social development programme for the country, these ‘economic cities’ shall ultimately assist the further regional and industrial diversification of the country, with Jazan in particular thriving from perspectives of employment and industry alike.
And Solb Steel is situated at the heart of it.
Producer of choice
As the only steel factory in the southern region and in addressing the construction boom currently being enjoyed in the same area, the overall project further thrives as a result of its coastal location, making the import of essential raw materials all the more efficient for companies like Solb Steel.
Producing steel through the EAF-CC method, the dependence on raw materials like DRI, HBI and steel scrap is essential, and the rewards being reaped as a consequence of these multiple advantages have been palpable in recent years.
For the project alone, Solb Steel will produce one million tonnes of liquid steel, and the same amount of billets of varying sizes.
All-told, the Company has a production capacity of 1.1 million tonnes a year, leaving room for expansion and a goal to drive towards for employees and suppliers alike.
Embracing a multinational workforce comprising not just Saudi locals, but the best expertise from the neighbouring region also, this strategy is further compounded by a supply chain that takes full advantage of the Middle East’s prime middle-ground and accessibility to the best in global materials, machinery, equipment and training.
The result: a plethora of megaprojects being undertaken across international airports, palaces and high-rise buildings.
Over the next five years, the extent of projects falling under Solb Steel’s remit is only likely to expand also, as it looks to become more vertically integrated via the production of its own raw materials – including iron ore – to then manufacture steel right from the beginning of each process.
Such sustainability and efficiency derives from the Company’s initial mission and vision which revolves around reputation and value for its customers and stakeholders alike.
“Our mission is to maximise stakeholders’ interests by becoming the producer of choice in the region for all those who respect progress in tandem with solid values,” Solb Steel says. “We want to be recognised as a pioneer in making steel and lead by fostering development that brings quality products supported by a culture of trust.”
Excellence in the industry
The final goal revolves around its local influence and the commitment to serving the community “with care and conscience to make a tangible difference to lives wherever possible”.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an area that drives all of Solb Steel’s industrial operations and success, starting from its personal relationships with employees, suppliers, stakeholders and customers; and emanating its way through the internal structure of the Company, through aspects like health & safety.
“Solb Steel has [recently] successfully completed another milestone in SAP by implementing an environment, health & safety (EHS) module,” the Company says. “This module will help a lot in proper reporting and recording of incidents and health related to the work environment.”
Finding a balance between ruthless business acumen and success, and careful, collaborative and responsible operations is something that Solb Steel has achieved over the years, culminating in the business being placed on the list of the top 100 consumer brands in Saudi Arabia.
It also now perfectly sets the platform for further capacity and production expansion to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the increasingly expectant market in the years to come.
“Solb Steel Company was placed on the list of the top 100 consumer brands in Saudi Arabia, handed over during a ceremony organised by the Asir Press and Publication under the auspices of the Minister of Culture and Information and the presence of the President of the Board of Directors Foundation HRH Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal,” the Company recalls. “The selection of the best one hundred brands in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to a survey conducted by Al-Watan newspaper in collaboration with Ipsos Global Statistics and Studies, selected Solb Steel for excellence in the industry and high production quality as the first plant in the Jazan Economic City, and as the largest industrial facility in the southern region.”