Located in the Tunisian capital of Tunis, the plant is scheduled to be operational in the second half of 2005.
The new plant is a joint venture between Crown and Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros, who each hold a 50 per cent share in the Tunisian investment. Located in El Agba, Tunis, close to the main container port, the plant will have an initial annual capacity of 635 million cans and will expand Crown's European, Middle Eastern and African beverage can business to thirteen plants across nine countries.
The Tunisian project comes hot on the heels of Crown's plans to install two new lines at its Jeddah, Saudi Arabia plant and its Dubai, United Arab Emirates plant. Crown expects the first line to be operational early in 2006 with the second line operational by mid-year 2006, bringing an additional 1.5 billion cans of capacity to the region.
The improvements are part of a three-year programme of capacity enhancement of over 1 billion cans in Crown's existing plants in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. As with the Tunisian venture, the plants, located in Amman, Dammam, Jeddah and Dubai, are all joint ventures between Crown and Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers.
"These investments will allow us to further build on our long-established position in the Middle East," said John Clinton, senior vice-president of Crown Bevcan Europe & Middle East. "Crown is deeply committed to providing our customers with the cans they need to meet current growth in this dynamic market and anticipated long-term demand."
General manager Aidan Sanderson will oversee production at the Tunisian plant of 24, 25 and 33cl aluminium cans for the growing markets of North Africa. The plant's slim can production will also help meet the increasing demand for smaller-sized cans in Europe.
"The Tunis operation builds upon Crown's geographic strength in this region,"said Sanderson. "Crown has previously supplied cans into North Africa from production facilities in Spain, Greece and Turkey. With the Tunis plant legally established and construction underway, we look forward to supplying locally produced cans to this growing market."
Tunisia boasts a healthy economy, quality infrastructure and qualified workforce and Crown is confident that its strategy of consolidating its position in emerging markets is a prudent one.
"We are well-situated to meet the growing demand for beverage cans throughout the extended North Africa region," said Sanderson.