Cable Industry In MENA Region

Mainly, but not All, ArabCab

Most of the cable makers in the relevant parts of the region are members of ArabCab, although the membership list of the association does not exhaust all the cable-makers in the Arab countries. For example, Oman Fibre Optics, which produces optical fibre and fibre optic cable and Teleco Câbles in Tunisia, are not listed as members. There are also many cable companies in the non-Arab countries of MENA (Turkey, Israel and Iran), and these do not, of course, belong to ArabCab. (Arab Cable Manufacturers Association founded in 2004, second conference to held be in May 2006)


Global Cable Investments in MENA

Manufacturing activity by the major global cable groups in this region, other than in Turkey, is relatively limited. The main exception is Nexans, which has a number of interests in North Africa and the Middle East, including Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt as well as Turkey. Prysmian has a substantial presence in Turkey, while Corning Cable Systems has manufacturing operations in both Turkey and Egypt. Elsewhere in the region, Draka has a stake in Oman Cables Industry. Except for Corning, US interests in the region are limited to Israel, where the Alpine Group is the largest shareholder in Superior Cables, a company formed from the merger of three established players. There are also investments in the region by global producers of auto wiring systems that we discuss later.


Cross Border Interests Are Limited

There has been some development of cross-border interests in the region, as cable companies based in one country within MENA invest in manufacturing operations in another, either through acquisition or through building green-field operations. Examples of cable companies based in MENA that have established or bought cross-border operations are Saudi Cable Co. (Turkey and Bahrain), Riyadh Cables (the UAE) and the Egyptian group El Sewedy (Saudi Arabia and Sudan). But the cable industry in MENA remains fragmented, as no really large groups have yet emerged in this region with a pan-national presence comparable with, for example, Nexans, Prysmian or Draka in the European market. This is not surprising, as the region is not integrated economically, though there are developing areas of economic cooperation such as the GCC and Maghreb countries.

Gulf Region: Cable Producers in Saudi Arabia

There are three large cable producers in Saudi Arabia: Riyadh Cables, Saudi Cable Co. and Jeddah Cable Co., each of which produces a range of energy and communication cables. Riyadh Cables (also known as Saudi Modern Cable) is the largest of these, while Saudi Cable Co. is the oldest. Jeddah Cable Co. is part of the Egyptian El Sewedy group. Smaller cable producers in Saudi Arabia include Middle East Specialised Cables and Alfanar Electrical.


Gulf Region: Cable Industry in the UAE

The UAE is the largest cable market in the GCC region outside Saudi Arabia, so it is not surprising that there are several cable producers in the Emirates. The largest of these is the Dubai Cable Co. The Saudi Arabian Riyadh Cable group also has a substantial operation in the UAE, National Cable Industries. Three smaller cable companies operate in the UAE: Tekab (part of the GIBCA group), Abu Dhabi Cables, and Sharjah Cables.


Other Cable-Makers in the Gulf Region

Kuwait has a single large cable-maker, Gulf Cable & Electrical Industries. This is a listed company whose published results show that it has been growing fast and that it is profitable.

In Bahrain there is only one producer, Midal Cables: this company is focused on bare aluminium conductors and is partly owned by the Saudi Cable Co.

In Oman the main cable producer is Oman Cables Industry, though there is also a local producer of optical fibre and fibre optic cable, Oman Fibre Optics. Nuhas Oman, a copper wire producer that is part of Al Bahja group, has extended its product range into enamelled wire.

There are currently no cable producers in Qatar, but from time to time in the last five years there have been rumours that a cable manufacturer will establish a presence in the country.


The Iranian Cable Industry

The number of cable-makers in Iran is large (over one hundred), but most of these are only active in energy cables. There is a large producer of communication cables, Shahid Ghandi, which is owned by the Telecommunications Co. of Iran. The Rafsanjan Industrial
Complex includes Iran’s other major producer of telecommunication cables. In energy cables the larger Iranian cable producers include Cable Alborz, Abhar Wire & Cable, SIMCO, Kerman Cable Industries, Iran Cable Manufacturing and Yazd Wire & Cable, but there are many others.


North Africa: Morocco Cable-makers

The largest cable-maker in Morocco is Nexans Maroc, a long-established subsidiary of the Nexans group. Other Moroccan cable manufacturers include Câbleries du Maroc, Afrique Câbles, Ifriquia Câbles, Imacab, Tumag Câbles, Medicâble and Coficab Maroc. The last-named company is part of the Tunisian Elloumi group. Afrique Câbles is a manufacturer of telephone cables, a relatively new entrant to the industry that is part of the YNNA/Chaâbi group.


North Africa: Tunisian Cable Producers

The leading cable producers in Tunisia are Tunisie Câbles, Chakira Câble, Super Câble and Teleco Câble. Chakira Câble and the auto cable producer Coficab belong to Elloumi group. Teleco Câble is a producer of copper telecom cables originally established by the Italian company Teleco Cavi. Filem is a Tunisian producer of magnet wire. The French company Omerin has a small unit in Tunisia.


Algeria Mainly State Owned

In Algeria there is a stronger government presence in the cable industry, just as there is in other industrial activities, than in most of the other major countries of MENA. Recently the government has made efforts to accelerate the pace of privatisation of state-owned businesses, so this situation may change. The three large state-owned Algerian cable companies are ENICAB, CABEL and CATEL. Other Algerian cable producers are Sofafe and Tayseer Cable Co.


North Africa: Egyptian Cable Industry

In Egypt the main cable making companies are El Sewedy group, Electro Cable Egypt, Giza Cables Co. and International Cable Co. The latter company is a subsidiary of the Nexans group. Cable operations in El Sewedy group include Arab Cables Co., Egytech Cables Co., Egytech Telecom Cables & Networks Co. and United Industries. In addition to these larger groups, there are also several other smaller Egyptian cable producers, mainly active in LV energy cables.

Near East: Some Consolidation in Turkey

The Turkish cable market has been through phases of strong growth but since 2000 demand has been relatively weak. As many cablemakers had been attracted to Turkey by its apparently strong longterm prospects, excess production capacity built up. Consequently, there has been pressure to reduce capacity in some sectors through rationalisation. Turkey has for many years been a major exporter of bare copper wire products to Western Europe, but in recent years exports of cable from Turkey have been growing in importance. In particular, the global cable groups with a presence in Turkey have opportunities to use their Turkish operations as a low cost base from which to export to markets in Western Europe. Growth in exports has helped to offset the weakness in home market demand


Turkish Cable Producers

The largest cable producers in the country are Türk Prysmian and Hes Kablo. Hes Kablo is part of the Bodyak / Istikbal group. The potential of the Turkish market has attracted several international cable groups: Nexans Turkey, for example, is a major producer of energy cables. The Saudi Cable Co. has a substantial presence in Turkey through its subsidiary Mass Kablo, which has two main operations, Demirer Kablo and Kavel Kablo. Hesfibel is the leading Turkish producer of communication cables, but is separate from Hes Kablo, which belongs to another industrial group. Corning Cable Systems also has an operation producing fibre optic cable in Turkey. In the enamelled wire sector four Turkish producers merged to form Bemka in 2003, later rationalising their operations.


Near East: Mergers in Israel

In the late 1990s the US group Superior Telecom acquired Cables of Zion, one of the major Israeli cable producers, and then bought two other major Israeli cable makers, Cvalim (the largest) and Pica Plast. The merged business now operates as Superior Cables, a listed company in which the US Alpine Group retains a shareholding. The other significant producers in Israel are Teldor Wires & Cables and Shelhav Magnet Wires.