Mounir Kawar is a busy man on a thriving continent. He is a partner and CEO of MMD & K4 Investments, a large, diversified enterprise with companies in various African industries. One of those companies is Fabrimetal, MMD’s steel business brand with a presence in nine African countries and 4,000 employees. They produce high-quality steel bars for the burgeoning construction industry in Africa.  

The site of Fabrimetal’s newest investment and their partnership with SMS group is in Senegal, a country dear to Kawar’s heart – he was born there, and his family has been there for three generations. So for him investing in Senegal is a personal connection that is about giving back as much as it is about smart business. Indeed there are compelling business reasons for operating in Senegal. Located on the Atlantic Ocean in West Africa, it boasts abundant resources and serves as a strategic trade access point for its landlocked bordering countries and beyond.

A move towards quality, sustainability and efficiency

The new bar and wire rod mill Fabrimetal commissioned SMS group to build in Senegal’s capital Dakar is the first joint project for the two companies and part of Fabrimetal’s evolution as a steel producer. Already actively producing rebar and wire rod in six other African countries, the company had long sought an opportunity to make a significant move towards better quality, more sustainability, and higher efficiency by building a state-of-the-art facility in a strategic market. When their research to find a suitable partner for making their dream a reality led them to SMS group, they felt at home right away. Mr. Kawar stresses the human connection between the companies as a crucial factor for embarking on a partnership in such a vital project for Fabrimetal: “Beyond their technical expertise and experience, the deep humanity we encountered at SMS group compelled us to move forward with them as our partner in Senegal.” 

The deep humanity we encountered at SMS group compelled us to move forward with them as our partner in Senegal.

Agreeing with that point and praising Fabrimetal’s astute market knowledge and heer determination, Marco Asquini, SMS group CEO for the Region of APAC & MEA, compares undertaking such an ambitious project in a challenging environment like Africa with a marriage. He points out the importance of listening closely to Fabrimetal’s requirements and adapting SMS group’s processes, know-how and experience to work well with the local conditions and challenges.

Latest rolling mill technology

The Senegal plant will employ the latest SMS group rolling mill technology, and represents a significant step up compared to what is currently available from other suppliers in the region. Mr. Kawar stresses the importance of the yield gains the company can realize with SMS group’s technology: “What really caught our attention is the yield now possible from the SMS group mill - we are talking about 98.5% vs. 93.5% for the mills available in the region.”

What really caught our attention is the yield now possible from the SMS group mill - we are talking about 98.5% vs. 93.5% for the mills available in the region.

Designed to output 350,000 tons of straight bars in bundles and wire rod coils per year, the new plant enables Fabrimetal to expand its product portfolio and meet the increased demand for both rebar and wire rod coils locally and in neighboring countries. The plant’s state-of-the-art HSD (High-Speed Delivery System) allows Fabrimetal to quickly reach full production capacity for the whole bar line size range while considerably increasing material yield and the mill utilization factor for a much faster return on investment. Moreover, SMS group’s digital-ready approach enables immediate implementation of digital solutions based on harmonized data processing. SMS group’s X-Pact® technology will control the entire plant, integrating billet handling and combustion control for the reheating furnace, tension automatic loop control, and rolling mill monitoring with the maintenance and diagnostic supervisor.

But Fabrimetal’s vision is about more than yield, quality, and efficiency to remain a leader in a competitive environment. The company is committed to reducing its CO2 emissions and contributing to the sustainable development of the African continent. To that end, the parent company MMD is a significant carbon creditor and plants over 2 million trees across Africa annually. Working together with other stakeholders like SMS group, MMD is committed to making a substantial contribution to the global efforts to combat climate change and promote sustainability.