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. 

Dubai’s Jumeirah eyes Saudi mega-projects

Updated 24 January 2020

Dubai’s Jumeirah eyes Saudi mega-projects

  • NEOM and Red Sea scheme high on group’s ‘address’ list, CEO tells Arab News

DAVOS: Jumeirah, the leading hotels and leisure group in the Middle East, is planning big developments in Saudi Arabia’s “mega-projects,” CEO Jose Silva told Arab News on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.

“We must be in those locations, but I want to make sure we get the right ‘address.’ Jumeiah always wants to be among the top three sites on any location. If someone convinces me this is the right address, I will jump into it,” he said.

Silva made clear he was thinking primarily about the two big development on the Kingdom’s west coast — the NEOM metropolis and the Red Sea project further south along the coast. He is believed to be in contact with Saudi Arabian tourism authorities and potential partners in the Kingdom.

Silva also said that Jumeirah was keen to open hotels in Makkah and Madinah, which he called “preferred entry” points in the Kingdom. Work has already begun on two sites.

“It is very important for us to acquire the right assets and the right designers. Unless we control the architect, we will not do it. We have to be involved in the design process,” he said.

A big presence in Saudi Arabia would be part of the strategy of “going global” that Silva has advanced in his first two years a head of the UAE-based hotels, leisure and restaurants business, which is owned by the government
of Dubai.

Last year, Jumeirah bought the Capri Palace on the eponymous Italian island, and is also involved in a major expansion plan in Asia, with six new projects underway in China, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Silva is also overseeing a $100 million renovation of the Carlton hotel in London’s Belgravia. Expansion via luxury hotel properties in other European capitals is also being considered.

In Dubai, he has brought in world-class managers to restaurants in the group’s flagship properties in Madinat and Burj Al Arab, with a clutch of “celebrity chefs” in place in restaurants there. 

“We want to be the best brand for ‘destination dining’,” he said.