Bahrain - Other Industry
By 1965 the government recognized that the island's long-term prosperity could not depend on the limited extent of its oil reserves. Accordingly, the government adopted industrial diversification as a primary objective of its economic policy. Tax incentives and low-interest loans encouraged private entrepreneurs to construct several small-scale manufacturing plants, including factories producing plastics, ceramic tiles, paper products, and carbonated beverages. The government assumed a more active role in the establishment of large-scale industry, as a result of which manufacturing contributed 13 percent of the gross domestic product in 1986. The two most important examples of large-scale industry were the aluminum plant and the ship-repair yard.
Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) was incorporated in 1968 as a joint government and private investment company for the construction of a mill to process imported raw alumina. Located near the Bapco refinery, the Alba plant began production in 1971 with an initial capacity of 99,000 tons of aluminum ingots. Since commencing operations, the Alba facilities have expanded considerably and by 1990 had an annual productive capacity of more than 215,000 tons. Associated with Alba are two other aluminum factories built during the 1980s. The Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill Company (Garmco), a joint venture of the six member countries of the GCC, produces aluminum strip and sheet. The Bahrain Aluminium Extrusion Company (Balexco), owned 100 percent by the government, produces aluminum doors, window frames, and other products used by the construction industry. A third concern, the jointly owned Bahrain-Saudi Aluminium Marketing Company (Balco), markets Alba's products throughout the Middle East and Asia.
In 1977 the Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard Company (ASRY) was inaugurated near Al Hadd. ASRY was a joint venture of Bahrain and the six other members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC). This large dry-dock facility has accommodations for up to ten supertankers simultaneously, and it annually repairs an average of seventy ships.
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