Work begins next month on an $80 million nonwoven fabric factory in West Shuaiba, Kuwait.

Officials from the Kuwaiti Public Authority for Industry said the plant, which will cover an area of 14,000 sq m, will have an annual output of 50,000 metric tonnes of nonwoven airlaid single and composite layer fabrics. The project will take five months to complete and is expected to become fully operational by the beginning of 2004.

Up to 95 percent of the plant's output will be exported to diaper and tissue manufacturers in Asian and African markets.

Funding for the factory has come from the Kuwaiti Gulf Polytex and foreign investors. Kuwait is keen to expand its economy beyond oil production and processing, and development of this project is key to the country's diversification.