The meetings of the Board of Directors and General Assembly of the Arab Iron and Steel Union were held in Misurata, Libya, in the period 22 – 24 May 2007. The Libyan Iron and Steel Company hosted the 93 session of the Board of Directors and the 38 session of the General Assembly in the presence of the representatives of the Arab iron and steel companies which are members in the Arab Iron and Steel Union.
Mr. Mohamed Laid Lachgar, AISU’s Secretary General, presented his report to the Board of Directors reviewing the facts of the Arab steel industry during 2006 and some results related to the first quarter of 2007.
The report noted that what is distinguishing the Arab steel industry is not the volume of its production but its accelerating growth. Crude steel production increased, in 2006, by 3.48% compared to 2005, while the growth rate at the international level is 8.8%.
In respect with the annual accumulative growth rate, the Secretary General’s report pointed out that this growth at the level of crude steel production reached 7.4% in the period 2000 – 2006. This rate is the largest second growth rate at the world level excluding China followed by India 6.7%.
Regarding the growth rate of the Arab steel industry in 2006 compared with 2005 the report noted that this rate reached 66% against 46.3% at the world level, but, in spite of the increasing growth rate, the share of the Arab countries in the world steel production is still poor. It rose to 1.48% against 1% in 2000.
The report pointed out occurrence of a notable development in the first quarter of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006. The change rate amounted to 15%. So, it is expected for 2007 to see a substantial increase in the volume of the Arab crude steel production.
Regarding the finished products, the report pointed out that during 2006, the Arab companies achieved a new figure amounting to 20.56 million tons, i.e., up by 7.96% to over the production level of 2005 which amounted to 19.044 million tons. The quantity of long products amounted to 16.207 million tons and that of the flat products 4.354 million tons.
The total export volume of the largest seven steel exporting companies amounted to 3.08 million tons, i.e., up by 8.8% over 2005’s exports which amounted to 2.8 million tons. Most of the exports of the Arab companies went to the Arab markets. Exports of the flat products accounted for half of the quantity of exports.
In respect with the imports of the Arab companies of steel products the report pointed out that the Arab markets constitute one of the most world attractive areas for imports because of the consumption growing volume and because the local production does not cover the deficiency. The countries of North Africa imported more than 9 million tons in 2007. The Arab Mashreq and Arabian Gulf countries imported 18.6 million tons, meaning that the total imports of these countries amounted to 25.6 million tons.
The GCC countries are a major importing force of the steel products. Their total exports amounted to 14.3 million tons in 2005. Analyses indicate that these imports will come up to 21 million tons in 2008.
The United Arab Emirates was at the top of the list of the first importers at the level of the Arab homeland in 2006 with a figure of 6.5 million tons of which 2.4 million tons are reinforcing steel. It takes up rank 11 among the largest importers at the world level.
The report included the following statistics related to the Arab steel industry:
- • Production of AISU’s member companies represents more than 90% of the total Arab steel production.
- The number of the Arab companies which produce rolled iron and steel products is about 77 companies. The total number of companies is 110 companies to which we add the cold rolling and galvanizing companies and the pipe and tubes manufacturing companies.
- There are five companies which produce long and flat products. The production of the other companies is restricted to the long products, which depend in their production upon importing the steel squares from the domestic or international markets.
- The largest Arab steel producing companies are concentrated in Egypt in which there are 21 reinforcing steel producing companies. Among these companies there are two companies which produce both long and flat products but the remaining companies produce reinforcing steel.
- In 2006 the production of one company exceeded 4 million tons of finished steel products; it is Ezz-Dikheila Company the production of which came close to 4 million tons ; There is one company the production of which came close to 4 million tons; it is the Saudi Iron and Steel Company (Hadeed).
- There are four companies the production of each of which was between 600.000 and one million tons.
- Production of the remaining companies ranged from 40.000 to 4000.00 tons/ year.
- Most of the Arab steel production is still concentrated in a limited number of companies which hold a share in the market enabling them to be in a dominating position.
- Two companies from the Arab countries were listed in the list of 127 companies of which each company produced more than two million tons. Ezz-Dikheila occupied rank 62 with a production amounting to 4.4 million tons. The Saudi Iron and Steel Company occupied rank 68 with a production amounting to 3.97 million tons.
As regards the great upturn seen by the Arab steel industry, the report highlighted the new projects and expansions seen by this industry, which amount to 97 projects and expansions.
Engineer Ali Youssef Zakri, Secretary of the Public Popular Committee for Industry and Metals, delivered a speech in the opening session of the session 38 of the General Assembly of the Arab Iron and Steel Union held on 23 May 2007 pointing out that the steel industry is considered the foundation of the changes taking place in industries. He also pointed out that the problem of the steel industry in the future is represented in the raw materials which had seen and still see an acute decline. He called the Arab companies to enter into partnership to invest the great deposit of the iron ore available in Wadi Al-Shati, and the Quinate region in the South East of Libya.
Having welcomed attendants of the meetings Dr. Mohammad Zidan, Secretary of the Popular Committee in the Libyan Iron and Steel Company, talked on the real status of the Libyan steel industry during the past period with 85% compared to the year 1999. In 2006 the company’s production reached 1.3 million tons. He also indicated the ambitious plans to make the company’s production reach 4 million tons in 2007.
Dr. Zidan stressed the imperativeness of activating the role of the Arab Iron and Steel Union in order to achieve its objectives and of the steel producers to enable the Arab companies to take up the prestigious status appealing to them and to change the future of this industry.
Mr. Mohamed Laid Lachgar, Secretary General of the Arab Iron and Steel Union, had pointed out in his speech the developments seen by the Libyan Iron and Steel Company.
He said : «The Libyan Iron and Steel Company and most of the Arab steelmakers the production of which had been characterized with the ability to achieve high specifications had drawn a new and honouring image for the development of this industry in the Arab world». Based on what this company has achieved of growth and development over the past 17 years, this company is a national symbol. What strengthens its status is that it could secure to the Libyan Society most of its needs of this material at competitive prices», he Said.
The Arab Steel is publishing the speeches delivered in the meetings of the Board of Directors and the General Assembly of the Arab Iron and Steel Union.