The company plans plant enhancements and is prioritising R&D to manufacture products that will meet changing trends in the commercial, industrial and residential sectors
Bahrain Aluminium Extrusion Company (Balexco), a major exporter of profiles, witnessed modest growth in output and revenues in 2015 and is bracing for plant expansions and refurbishments over the next two years.
Production in 2015 was 22,900 tonnes against 17,226 tonnes in the previous year, while the sales turnover advanced from BD25.95 million ($68.85 million) to BD30.6 million, chief executive Jassim Mohamed Seyadi revealed.
Some 25 to 30 per cent of the output is consumed locally, with the remainder shipped to markets within the region. The company, established in 1977, has four presses with annual planned capacity of 30,000 - 33,000 tonnes.
About the company’s focus for this year and the next, Seyadi said there were no immediate plans to set up a fifth press but that it is looking at commissioning a vertical powder coating plant, modifying one of the existing four presses for producing a wider range of profiles including retrofitting a press to extrude thinner profiles and developing new products and markets.
Other enhancement projects include replacing die ovens and one of the powder-coating booths, installing an air-water cooling quench system and a new gas pressure reduction station and refurbishing crane systems.
Balexco may also reactivate the existing remelt facility once the cost-benefit ratio tilts in its favour on the basis of aluminium premium levels.
Over the past two years the company’s profiles have been used in overseas projects in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE, Yemen and Lebanon, among other places.
On its commitment to developing new products to meet changing trends, Seyadi highlighted: “Our product development team is continuously engaged in the research and development of new varieties of profiles, and our sales and marketing team is gearing up for aggressive marketing of newly launched product ranges.”
Recent additions to Balexco’s range were the Balexco Luxury System (Lift and Slide) and thermal profiles. According to the company, Balexco Luxury has a sliding system designed to provide performance similar to top-quality casement windows and doors. It also features a water drain valve with a T-Rex device and multi-locking points for increased burglar-proof performance. Seyadi said the new products were quite promising and the hope was that there would be year-on-year increase in product ranges.
“But in 2015, the market was not conducive to high-value luxury systems and was more inclined to value-added cost-effective systems profiles,” commented Seyadi. “We noticed that luxury system profiles are widely accepted in the market but budget constraint is one reason for customers switching choice to conventional systems such as the 100/45 series.”
The Balexco 45 series casement system has overlap profiles with 45 mm width and coplanar profiles with 52.5 mm width for frames. General wall thickness of 1.6 mm and profiles of 3 mm thickness are also available. The system features glazing thickness of 6 mm to 24 mm and more and as per lab test results it complies with French AFNOR standards A3-E2-V2 for a two-leaf hinged window size 2.2 m x 1.7 m.
Balexco’s 100 series sliding system features 100 mm wide frames with wall thickness of 1.6 mm, glazing thickness of 6, 8, 18, 20 and 24 mm, and the same classification for air, water and wind as the 45 series for sliding window size 2.2 m x 1.6 m.
The company has a product designed in Italy called the Balexco 60 series curtain wall system. It incorporates 60 mm wide mullions and can integrate the Balexco 45 series. Furthermore, tests have been conducted on air, water and deflection parameters.
The Balexco product range is classified as commercial, kitchen, system and industrial profiles and caters to all surface finishes – mill, powder coat and anodised.
Seyadi said 52 per cent of the total sales were in mill finish, 41 per cent in powder coated and 7 per cent in anodised.
“Within the three finishes, Balexco system profiles make up 25 per cent of the total and this is a segment that the company has managed to sustain on a year-on-year basis,” added Seyadi.
Construction jobs in Bahrain that utilised Balexco’s products over the past years include Private Public Participation (PPP) projects, East Hidd Housing projects, the Villa Compound project on Amwaj Island and Ministry of Housing Balexco-specified projects.
The company’s overseas projects in the period include the Fox Hill Residency, Qatar; a high-rise 28 storey-tower in Kuwait and the King Abdul Aziz Cultural Centre in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.