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TRAMAL Inc. - International consortium to create in the aluminium valley a unique center for the development and commercialization of processes using light materials


Montreal [Quebec], September, 2001 - As a follow-up to various scenarios currently circulating in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, Dr. Alfredo Riviere, President of Sural Group, today confirmed key elements of a plan to create, in the Aluminium Valley, a unique Centre for the development and commercialization of light materials. This new business, Tramal Inc., will be dedicated to the development and commercialization of new manufacturing processes for mechanical and structural automotive parts in aluminium, composite materials, technopolymers. It will specialize in the formulation of solutions for the automotive and transportation industries. Investments totalling several tens of millions of dollars are forecasted over the next ten years.

The Centre's main activities will include the further development of the SANGS (TM) technology, a revolutionary material that was developed in the last five years, with an investment of over $30 million, resulting in several patents.

"The Centre brings together in the Ville Saguenay, the expertise of companies who are world leaders in their respective fields," said Dr. Riviere. "The Centre will provide lighter, more cost effective parts for the automobile and transport industries, with physical properties that conform to the requirements of both today's vehicles, and those of the future. In addition, we have highly qualified human resources in Saguenay to ensure that we meet these high standards of quality. "

The Centre, which will create some 25 highly specialized jobs in the region in the short term, will pave the way for establishment of companies with an interest in manufacturing parts developed at the Centre, with the potential for creating some 400 high quality specialized jobs in the transformation sector over the course of the next few years.

The consortium will consist of both Québec-based and international partners, who foresee injecting several tens of millions of dollars in both equipment and operating expenses over a period of ten years. The partners are to launch the project during the autumn of 2001, with construction starting in the spring of 2002 and operations commencing near the end of that year.

Private partners in the consortium include: Sural Group, specializing in the transformation of metals and minerals. With its head office in Venezuela, Sural has operations in many countries throughout the world, as well as a plant and offices in Québec; Bühler Druckguss, a renowned Swiss manufacturer of high precision, metal moulding equipment; BWE Ltd., a British manufacturer known for its specialized continuous extrusion equipment; Vézina Composites Inc., a Québec company with composite material products developed for large international companies; and KPM S.p.A. of Italy, world leader in the use of technopolymers in the manufacturing of pneumatic parts for industrial automation equipment.

Sural is currently in discussions with other investors, who may join the consortium. In addition, this project will benefit from financial support from the Government of Québec, in the form a loan from Investissement Québec, as announced in the most recent Budget.

The Centre will work within the dynamic of an automobile industry that has put a high priority on the reduction of the weight of cars. "The future looks very promising for our field of expertise," said Dr. Riviere. The automobile and transport industries are confronted with environmental challenges that necessitate the production of lighter cars that consume less gasoline. It is a market in full growth. Our Centre intends to take its place rapidly at the heart of this industry, as a leader and a North American centre for unique solutions."

SOURCE : Navtej Saluja, Président Sural Canada (514) 339-2499

INFORMATION: Nicole Delorme : (514) 843-2379 / Martine Dorval : (514) 843-2335


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