RAK Ceramics considers new Saudi plant as demand heats up

The strong US dollar has increased construction costs in the UAE. (Supplied)
Updated 08 August 2019

RAK Ceramics considers new Saudi plant as demand heats up

LONDON: RAK Ceramics is considering adding a secondary manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia to meet local demand as well as growing export markets in Europe. 

The UAE-based tile maker reported an 8.5 percent decline in second quarter profits to 110 million dirhams ($29.9 million) compared to a year earlier as it absorbed rising energy costs. 

Total revenue fell 6.8 percent to 1.29 billion dirhams during the period, but its sanitaryware sales were lifted 7.6 percent on sales to Saudi Arabia, India and Europe. 

“We have seen an improvement in our gross margins during the period due to continued investment in operational efficiencies,” said RAK Ceramics Group CEO Abdallah Massaad. “Despite high energy costs, we remain focused on running an efficient and profitable business.” 

A slowdown in the regional construction industry has hurt demand for tiles as fewer new villas and apartments are built while at the same time, the strong US dollar to which the UAE dirham is pegged has made construction exports from the country more expensive. 

RAK Ceramics is one of the largest ceramics’ brands in the world with the capacity to produce 123 million square meters of tiling per year across its 22 factories in the UAE, India, Bangladesh and China. 

Philippine jobless rate hits record 17.7% in April due to pandemic

Updated 05 June 2020

Philippine jobless rate hits record 17.7% in April due to pandemic

  • The Philippines is facing its biggest economic contraction in more than three decades
  • April’s 17.7 percent unemployment rate equivalent to 7.3 million people without jobs

MANILA: The Philippines’ unemployment rate surged to a record 17.7 percent in April, the statistics agency said on Friday, as millions lost their jobs due to a pandemic-induced lockdown that battered the economy.
The Philippines, which before the pandemic was one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, is facing its biggest contraction in more than three decades after the new coronavirus shuttered businesses and crushed domestic demand.
April’s unemployment rate, which is 7.3 million people without jobs, compares with 5.3 percent in January and 5.1 percent in April last year.
“We should not lose sight of the fact that this loss in employment is really temporary,” Economic Planning Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said in an online news conference.
The lockdown in the capital, Manila, which was one of the world’s longest and strictest, was relaxed as of June 1 to allow much-needed business activity to resume and soften the economic blow of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 20,000 in the country.