Sohar Aluminium is hosting the 2017 Arab International Aluminium Conference or ARABAL in Muscat from November 7–9 2017. Said Al Masoudi, CEO, Sohar Aluminium explains its uniqueness and differentiation. Mayank Singh reports

InterviewThe theme of ARABAL is ‘driving strategic growth across the global aluminium industry.’ What are the key takeaways that delegates can look forward to from the conference?

We are bringing in 60 high level speakers from around the world for the conference. The agenda has been carefully designed to capture a wide variety of topics. We have incorporated topics like ‘recycling of waste material’, human resource planning etc. which are a first. So apart from conventional subjects we are bringing in special topics of relevance. Moreover getting 500 delegates under one roof makes for a great networking opportunity for vendors, suppliers and technology providers who are looking for business leads and associates. Apart from the conference, we are organising a visit to various tourist attractions in Oman for the participants and their spouses. The cultural highlights of Oman, will also be showcased during the leisure hours. So, while the focus is on the Aluminium industry, Oman’s tourism will also be promoted around the event.

Can you share some details of the format and duration of ARABAL?

The registration for the conference will begin on November 6, 2017. People also need to pre-register to be a part of the technology workshops. There will be a welcome and reception on November 6. The conference will be inaugurated on November 7 and on November 8, a site visit to Sohar Aluminium has been planned. Site visits are usually a part of the ARABAL programme and the visit will give people an opportunity to learn about Sohar Aluminium Smelter and to meet people from the management of the company.

How much of the preparation is done for the conference?

We have almost everything in place regarding speakers, delegates and the on ground preparations.

Oman had hosted ARABAL in 2011. What is the idea behind bringing the conference back to the Sultanate in 2017?

ARABAL takes place on a rotational basis and last year a decision was taken to have the conference in Oman and we were happy to host it.

What are the opportunities and challenges that the aluminium industry faces presently?

Challenges are always there, but there are things that one can control and matters that are beyond one’s control. For instance international oil prices and economic cycles are not within our control, but maintaining or becoming more efficient is something that we strive towards. The idea is to be in the industry’s quartile one, because then even if LME (London Metal Exchange prices) comes down, we can survive it easily. Quartile one in simple terms means that one is so efficient that even if LME comes down, the company would still be making money.

Is there an oversupply of aluminum in the global market and is this a concern?

I will not call it an oversupply, but let me put things in perspective. China produces over 50 per cent of global aluminium production. If China consumes everything that it produces, there will be no issue, but once it starts exporting semi products there will be a drop in aluminium prices.

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