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RAK Ceramics turns to China for growth

A new factory in China is just one of several new developments as RAK Ceramics looks to press ahead with a rapid expansion in overseas markets.

A new factory in China is just one of several new developments as RAK Ceramics looks to press ahead with a rapid expansion in overseas markets.

The UAE-based giant is already one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high quality ceramic wall and floor tiles and sanitaryware products, but the company used its presence at the Big 5 to outline plans to continue its staggering growth rate, with the ultimate aim of establishing itself as the “numero uno” in the ceramic world.

Although it only started production from its Ras Al Khaimah headquarters in 1991, the company already has brands available in more than 125 countries and, along with the factory in China, which opened in September, has manufacturing facilities in Bangladesh and Slovakia.

Spokesman PP Emmanuel said the company was extremely upbeat about prospects for 2004: “We already have about 90% of the UAE market and we will consolidate this through projects such as the Sheikh Zayed housing projects in Abu Dhabi and our work for Emaar on everything from The Palm to Arabian Ranches.

“Overseas, we’ve also got impressive plans and the only problem we’ve got at the moment is that some of the time supply can’t keep up with the demand for our products. Consequently we’re looking to increase our production facilities.”

The company currently employs around 3000 people at its RAK headquarters, working in eight modern tiles and two sanitaryware factories, that produce 140 000 m2 of ceramic and gres porcellanato wall and floor tiles and 5000 pieces of sanitaryware a day.

The headquarters is split into two main divisions, the Tiles Division and the Sanitaryware Divison. The latter produces 1 800 000 pieces per annum, including complete bathroom suites, bathtubs, shower trays, kitchen sinks and related accessories, but the new target is to increase the production capacity to 2 400 000 pieces per annum to meet demand. Consequently, the installation of a new tunnel kiln is now underway.

Emmanuel attributes the success of RAK Ceramics to three key factors, the quality of production, the pricing structure and the range of products. “Most other manufacturers have limited ranges, whereas we have a vast range and can also supply customised products, as you can see from our stand at Big 5,” he said.

The new products the company has on display at the show include an antimicrobial glaze for tiles, which permanently neutralizes viruses, bacteria and fungi, and the ‘Luminos Range’ — tiles which glow in the dark.

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