Hanover, Germany - More than a year after announcing its ambitious $1.6-billion (€1.4 billion) project to build a tire plant in Saudi Arabia, the National Tire Co. says it has weathered some financing problems and is back on track with the plan.
“It was a bit of a tough year in Saudi Arabia… All economic activities were frozen for a while and development projects were reprioritised,” explained Farid Dudin, head of the tire plant project.
Despite these issues, negotiations are going well for the 20-million-unit per annum project, Dudin told ERJ during the Tire Tech Expo in Hanover, 5-7 March.
NTC expects to award the engineering, procurement and construction contract to Korea’s Samsung Engineering in August and start construction by 2020.
The first phase of the project includes the annual production of 8 million passenger car (PRC) tires and 2 million truck and bus tires.
The first NTC-branded tires are expected to roll out of the plant in the final quarter of 2021.
For the second phase of the project, the company will add another 8 million PRC units, 1 million TBR and 1 million military tires per year.
The plant will be built in Jubail, east of Saudi Arabia.