Dubai: Mulk Holdings, a UAE-based diversified conglomerate with Dh1.83 billion in assets, on Saturday signed a joint venture with India's Enpar Group to develop six manufacturing plants with potential investment to the tune of Dh300 million that is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs in three years, officials said.
These projects, all of which are in the advanced stages of implementation, will include Mulk Enpar Renewable Energy in UAE and India — focusing on solar energy and processed heat applications; Alubond USA manufacturing plant in India under Alubond Dacs India Pvt Ltd; Alubond Australasia Sri Lanka, focusing on aluminium coil coating; Stradt Interiors, an interiors fit-out supplier in Jebel Ali; a 100,000 tonne aluminium coil manufacturing plant either in Abu Dhabi, or Sohar in Oman; and Alubond Europe, an aluminium composite panel manufacturing plant in Belgrade.
The move is part of its Dh450 million expansion programme that will generate an additional Dh1.5 billion in sales revenue per annum from 2012.
With the latest expansion, the holding company will have 21 subsidiaries in renewable energy, real estate, health care, interiors, furniture manufacturing, solar power and aluminium panels. The expansion comes at a time when most Gulf companies are shrinking operations due to the challenging economic situation.
"Green energy and solar power businesses are the most recession-proof businesses in the world. We are expanding due to the growing demand for our products and services," Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk, Chairman of Mulk Holdings, said.
"Besides, we are going to serve 80 countries across the world where market conditions vary from here."
"We already have $500 million [Dh1.83 billion] orders at hand, including a 170 megawatt solar power project in India. We are also negotiating with Masdar to participate in their next project."
The company is currently in close negotiation with Emirates Aluminium (Emal) to set up a Dh200 million aluminium coil manufacturing plant to be set up at the Khalifa Port and Industrial Park in Taweelah. It will soon build two industries in Saudi Arabia and Iran to produce green energy products to serve these markets.
The financing of the industries will be on a 70:30 debt-equity basis.
"Once plans for each industry are finalised, we will talk to a consortium of seven banks for finance, which would not be a problem as we have a good track record," Shaji Ul Mulk said.
Owned by a non-resident Indian businessman from Hyderabad, Shaji Ul Mulk, the company owns 85 per cent stake in US-based aluminium panel manufacturer, Alubond, for which Mulk Holdings own the rights to market in Europe, Middle East and India.
The company is currently testing a pilot project in its UAE plant to manufacture aluminium panels that will generate power by utilising sunlight, replacing photovoltaic panels.
"Aluminium panels generate more energy than photovoltaic panels. That's why we have joined hands with Mulk Holdings to expand the product line to tap new markets," said Naresh L. Asrani, of Enpar Group. "With this joint venture, we see greater synergies to tap a larger market."
Investment in solar energy can create annual revenues of $90 billion in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), according to global management consulting firm AT Kearney.
The region has the opportunity to become a "boom centre" for solar energy within the next 10 years, creating up to 100,000 new jobs, according to consultants AT Kearney.
Solar and renewable energy market is expanding in the Mena, analysts say. "Being one of the best suited regions globally for solar energy, Mena has yet to realise the full potential of this new technology, representing only six per cent of global planned solar energy capacity," said Christian von Tschirschky, principal with A.T. Kearney Middle East.
Mulk Holdings also unveiled a separate, extensive investment programme of over Dh150 million expansion that will target their existing companies in the health-care sector; and establishing new Alubond production plants in Iran and Saudi Arabia.