Essar Group eyes Saudi Arabia as regional hub for expansion

Indian conglomerate Essar Group is strategically positioning Saudi Arabia as a central hub for its local and regional expansion plans, according to CEO Prashant Ruia. The group, founded by brothers Shashi and Ravi Ruia, is in the process of establishing a 4-million metric ton per year steel plant, along with port facilities, at Ras Al-Khair in Saudi Arabia. This move aligns with Saudi Arabia's ambition to become a prominent electric vehicle manufacturing center.


"Automotive will be large," remarked Prashant Ruia during an interview at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. He also revealed plans to open an office in the Saudi capital. With an eye on Vision 2030 and the various associated projects, Essar anticipates significant growth in steel demand and aims to play a pivotal role.


The $4.5 billion integrated steel plant is slated for completion in approximately 3.5 years after securing necessary approvals. Ruia mentioned that final approval could be obtained within about six months. Funding for the Saudi steel plant is expected to be primarily arranged through Saudi banks and financial institutions. The group also intends to offer a minority stake to potential investors.


As Saudi Arabia strives to diversify its economy and bolster local production, Ruia anticipates increased steel demand, particularly from the consumer goods industry. This aligns with Saudi Arabia's ambitious plan to manufacture over 300,000 cars annually by 2030. Additionally, the recent agreement with Hyundai Motor Co for a car plant, as well as the introduction of the local EV brand Ceer, underscores Saudi Arabia's determination to solidify its presence in the automotive industry.

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