Al Mansoor and Elettronica partner to build Abu Dhabi?s first dual gold-silver refinery

Al Mansoor and Elettronica partner to build Abu Dhabi?s first dual gold-silver refinery
WAM Abu Dhabi, 18th Feb. 2009 (WAM) - Global Force Capital and Italy's Elettronica S.P.A today announced formation of a joint venture to build a plant in Abu Dhabi for refining and fabricating bars and grains of pure gold, silver and other precious metals. It will be the first gold and silver refinery in Abu Dhabi and is set to be the largest dual refinery in the region.

The company is a new offset joint venture facilitated by the Offset Program Bureau (OPB), in line with the requirements of the UAE Offsets Program, which aims at adding value to the UAE economy through defense equipment procurements made by the UAE Armed Forces.

Through this joint venture, Elettronica is seeking to fulfill its offset obligation arising from a defense equipment supply contract with the UAE Armed Forces.

The plant will be set up at a total cost of AED 67.3 million ($ 18.3 million), 51% is owned by Khalid Ahmed Al Mansoor, Chairman of Global Force Capital, and the remainder by Elettronica and other investors including the technology partners. The project will be funded through a combination of equity and debt.

Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri, Chief Executive Officer of the OPB, described the JV as a "unique, profitable, and sustainable project that meets the Offset Program's core objectives of adding value to the UAE's economy, creating job and business opportunities for UAE nationals, and bringing the latest technology and expertise into the country." "This plant will help create a world's leading center for precious metals. It will also help bridge the global supply-demand gap in gold and silver, especially in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent." According to Khalifa Al Hemairi, Offset Senior Manager at the OPB, the plant will be built within the premises of Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone. It is expected to begin production by end-2009. The production will be marketed globally via offices in Abu Dhabi and New York.

"About 70 percent of the plant's production will be from mined gold and the rest from jewelry, utensils, and industrial scrap." "This project represents for Elettronica another tangible commitment and contribution to the UAE economy and its remarkable diversification efforts" stated Enzo Benigni, President and CEO of Elettronica. "We arrived in UAE a long time ago and we are here to stay", added Benigni, "and I am confident these efforts in partnership with OPB will further consolidate our commercial strength, image, and credibility".

Elettronica is a leading designer and manufacturer of Electronic Warfare (EW) systems with a remarkable record of success in UAE, ranging from the EW suite on board of the Mirage 2000/9, to the ESM system for the Baynunah Corvettes and Elint sensors for the Military Intelligence (MISS).

"We are proud to continue supporting OPB's vision and the local economy, through this unique project which will serve key industry players, and enhance local manufacturing and exporting capabilities in the fields of aerospace, electronics, jewelry, and other industrial uses" said Khalid Ahmed Al Mansoor of Global Force Capital the house of expertise in offset advisory specializing in structuring and designing innovative offset solutions for defense contractors.

Recently, the World Gold Council predicted a sharp rise in the global gold demand. The largest consumer demands are from the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia which accounts for over 50 percent of the global demand.

Currently, there are considerable gold and silver mining activities in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Significant mining developments are also present in Sudan, Mali, and Mauritania.

-Ends- The Offset Program Bureau (OPB) was established in 1992 to oversee the offset program in the UAE. It is mandated to set up joint ventures, as well as to invest in commercial, industrial, financial, and educational projects, and to create investment funds in the UAE and abroad.

The OPB also acts as a conduit between international contractors and members of the local private sector for creation of commercially viable, profitable, and sustainable joint ventures.

The key objective of the UAE Offset Program is to add value to the country's economy by ensuring that all projects being developed under the UAE offsets program are in line with the UAE's overall strategic master plan and are consistent with national priorities. The program's contribution to the economy can be readily observed: To date, the OPB has helped set up 35+ successful joint WAM/TF