RAK Ceramics targets Saudi Arabia amid regional slowdown

1 / 3
A strong dollar, to which some Gulf currencies are pegged, is making exports more expensive in key construction markets, such as Europe. (Supplied)
2 / 3
RAK Ceramics is looking for business in the Kingdom amid a slump elsewhere in the region. (Supplied)
3 / 3
The strong US dollar has increased construction costs in the UAE. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 13 February 2020

RAK Ceramics targets Saudi Arabia amid regional slowdown

  • A recent pickup in construction in the Kingdom has given confidence to a beleaguered building sector

LONDON: RAK Ceramics, the UAE-based tile-maker, wants to boost its Saudi business amid a tough market elsewhere in the Gulf.

The Kingdom emerged as a rare regional bright spot as it reported earnings on Wednesday that were defined by “challenging market conditions and increased competition in export markets,” it said in a statement. 

“Saudi Arabia has been a strong market for us predominantly in tiles, where we witnessed a substantial growth in the fourth quarter which reflected positively on the year-on-year growth,” said RAK Ceramics CEO Abdallah Massaad. 

“Looking ahead, our priorities for 2020 are to maintain our market share in the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and India; further grow our market in Saudi Arabia; and strengthen the overall performance of distribution entities in Europe.”

Building materials exporters have been hit by the triple whammy of a sharp slowdown in the regional housing market, a weaker oil price which has affected government project spending and a strong dollar to which some Gulf currencies are pegged — making their exports more expensive in key construction markets such as Europe.

However a recent pickup in construction activity in Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Gulf, has been a confidence boost for the beleaguered building sector.

Overall sales slumped 5.6 percent to 2.57 billion dirhams ($684 million) on a year earlier however Saudi Arabia showed strong growth with revenues jumping more than 9 percent to 271.9 million dirhams.

The projects segment in the Kingdom was stable and tiles revenue grew by 6.9 percent to 248.7 million dirhams. Meanwhile sanitaryware revenues surged by 41.6 percent to 23.2 million dirhams.


Conflict-hit Libya to restart oil operations but with low output

Updated 10 July 2020

Conflict-hit Libya to restart oil operations but with low output

  • There is significant damage to the reservoirs and infrastructure
  • A first cargo of 650,000 barrels will be shipped by the Kriti Bastion Aframax tanker

TUNIS: Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) lifted force majeure on all oil exports on Friday as a first tanker loaded at Es Sider after a half-year blockade by eastern forces, but said technical problems caused by the shutdown would keep output low.
“The increase in production will take a long time due to the significant damage to reservoirs and infrastructure caused by the illegal blockade imposed on January 17,” NOC said in a statement.
A first cargo of 650,000 barrels will be shipped by the Kriti Bastion Aframax tanker, chartered by Vitol, which two sources at Es Sider port said had docked and started loading on Friday morning.
The blockade, which was imposed by forces in eastern Libya loyal to Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), has cost the country $6.5 billion in lost export revenue, NOC said.
“Our infrastructure has suffered lasting damage, and our focus now must be on maintenance and securing a budget for the work to be done,” NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in the statement.
Control over Libya’s oil infrastructure, the richest prize for competing forces in the country, and access to revenues, has become an ever-more significant factor in the civil war.
The internationally recognized Government of National Accord, supported by Turkey, has recently pushed back the LNA, backed by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt, from the environs of Tripoli and pushed toward Sirte, near the main oil terminals.