Emirates Glass invests Dh32

Emirates Glass has pulled off that special trick that all local manufacturing businesses want to do: it has broken out of its local domestic market and turned itself into an international exporter.

  • E-Mail
By  Eudore Chand Published  November 27, 2003

|~|glass_200w.jpg|~|Jerry Dowling, General Manager of Emirates Glass.|~|EMIRATES GLASS, which has been largely successful in substituting the import of coated glass into the UAE, is now on the verge of diversifying its product portfolio, according to a top company official.

The company is planning to set up a wholly owned automobile glass production facility in Dubai in the near future. In August this year, the company invested Dh5.83 million in setting up a temperable solar controlled glass processing line, which produces curved or bended glass products that suit the Gulf’s climate.

“After acquiring over 80% of the domestic market share in the coated glass products market, we are now venturing into diversification,” says Jerry Dowling, General Manager of Emirates Glass.

“Lately, we have invested about Dh5.8 million in introducing a new line to process temperable solar controlled glass, which was never produced in the UAE or the Gulf, he pointed out.
“We are now planning to set up another line to introduce some new products including automobile glass for car windows. The cost of this line would be around Dh26 million,” Dowling said.

“We are also planning to enter the float glass manufacturing business in the near future,” he added. Emirates Glass uses tinted float glass as raw material from a number of suppliers from Asia, Europe and North America. The annual global demand for float glass has been growing at 4.1%, with current demand running at 4 billion square metres or 34 million metric tonnes. Sector-wise, construction industry accounts for 65% of global float glass usage, while automotive sector attracts 20% and 15% goes to the specialty sector.

North America accounts for 17% of global float glass demand, while Europe takes 24%, China consumes 33% and the balance 26%, is accounted for by the rest of the world, including the Middle East. The annual demand for float glass in the Gulf is about 140 000 metric tonnes, of which Saudi Arabia and the UAE account for 85 000 and 45 000 tonnes, respectively.

Emirates Glass, a subsidiary of Dubai Investments, was commissioned in January 1998 as a publicly held joint stock company whose authorised share capital is about Dh1.3 billion. It is the UAE’s first and so far the only processing plant for coated glass, with an annual capacity to process 700 000 m2. The company has managed to breach the local market, which had until recently been heavily dominated by foreign products. It has been able to substitute imports of foreign glass products in the UAE’s domestic market with an 80% domestic market share.

Emirates Glass is also exporting products into foreign markets. Exports currently accounts for 20% of its production.
“Our current order book involves 200 000 m2 of glass that is worth Dh21 million. We have breached a number of export markets, including the GCC, UK, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and South Asia,” Dowling said.

“In Bahrain, we have won a contract for the Formula I track facility. We have also entered Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabian markets. In the UK, we recently bagged three projects, worth US $900 000. In Singapore, we are getting involved with Terminal 2 and 3 of Changi Airport,” the general manager said. “We are also bidding for projects at Cyprus airport.” This is the sort of business the UAE needs.
As a UAE-based manufacturer, Emirates Glass faces difficulty in penetrating the Saudi Arabian market due to government protectionism there. “Though we do not need state protection in guaranteeing our success, what we want in Saudi Arabia is a level-playing field,” Dowling said.

“If they can get comparative government patronage and protection in Saudi Arabia, we can also demand that in the UAE. Though, even without government’s protection, we have managed to take the lead in the market. “We want fair competition for the Saudi market.” Dowling said the prices of glass products are under tremendous pressure from the market, due to stiffening competition. However, due to the ongoing projects, domestic consumption of coated glass is set to grow at a rapid pace during the next few years.

“Due to the tremendous development taking place in Dubai and the UAE, the general outlook for the glass industry appears very bright,” said Dowling. “If we take the projects that have so far been announced by the Dubai Government, the entire construction and building materials sector will enjoy a solid boom for the next few years until these projects are completed. “Our production line is going to be very busy due to the growing demand,” he said.||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code