DESPITE the economic crisis and the surging costs of raw materials, 2010 was a good year for the UAE-based Jotun Powder Coatings (JPC), which is targeting a 15 per cent growth in the GCC region. 2010 has been a steady year for JPC, bringing the company back on track with a 10 per cent growth, thanks to increased demand from export markets.
“With the resurgence of the country’s construction segment, we remain upbeat about the increased demand for our products across all verticals and segments. The real challenge is with the sharply increasing costs of raw materials,” says Colin Wanless, managing director.
“In the GCC region, our products for both the architectural and functional segments have seen the biggest growth. Since the region is not a heavily industrial manufacturing area, there has been a slightly reduced demand for our products in the industrial segment,” says Ram Ramnath, general manager, referring to the three market segments the company caters to.
JPC maintains a 70 per cent share of the powder coatings segment in the GCC region – excluding Saudi Arabia, where the Jotun group operates another manufacturing unit based in Dammam.
JPC continues to maintain its leadership position in the region after 20 years of success through its focus on meeting the market needs and trends.
He continues: “Despite the large demand in the architectural and functional segments, there are still some needs and challenges that have to be addressed on the threshold of 2011. For example, the architectural segment’s current needs include improved aesthetics of powder coatings (such as new colours and metallic finishes) and powder coatings that contribute to environmental sustainability through improved heat reflectivity. Jotun has been very active in developing products that answer these needs, as seen through our new lines like ColourBeats and The Cool Shades Collection respectively.
“In the functional segment, the need is for products that will work compatibly at higher operating temperatures as well as multi-layer powder coating alternatives to the conventional three-layer polyolefin systems. Here again, Jotun has pioneered the development of tailor-made products such as its Hot (high operating temperature) range and the unique J-Trac system, which is a three-layer powder coating system that is widely regarded as the preferred technology of the future.”
To maintain its profitability and market position, JPC is focusing on investing in the development and production of sustainable, high-performance and technologically-advanced coatings that can address the requirements of various verticals in different industries.
“Last year (2010) we focused more on sustainable technologies and products. Being solvent-free, Jotun Powder Coating products release negligible amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. In addition, all of Jotun’s pigments are lead-free, which means the products can be disposed of easily and safely, while unused or over-sprayed powder can be recovered and reused for minimal wastage. The recent Cool Shades Collection launch was a positive addition to our sustainability credentials,” says Ramnath.
The Cool Shades Collection is claimed to be the first powder coating technology with heat management properties that can reduce surface temperatures by more than 15 degrees. The product is formulated to reduce the temperature of aluminium building components that are exposed to the sun, thereby effectively contributing to lowering energy consumption and cooling costs in buildings.
The Cool Shades Collection solution can be used for both modern and traditional architecture, for such as window frames, curtain-walls, shutters, louvres, and wall panels.
The unique range is based on heat management pigment technology that reflects the infrared energy from sunlight and keeps coated surfaces much cooler, while still absorbing visible light energy to allow colours to maintain their vibrancy, he says.
“Cool Shades technology also addresses one of the major problems that urban areas face which is known as the ‘urban heat island effect’. A major factor causing global warming, this happens when heat from congested urban areas and black roads gets trapped in a thermal mass and is then later released into the air at night. The not only poses risks to one’s health but also increases energy costs.”
JPC’s products are actively used in three core industry segments: architectural, industrial and functional. In the UAE, the architectural segment, which is made up of the country’s infrastructure and construction development projects, utilises 50 per cent of Jotun’s products; followed by the functional segment, representing industries like oil and gas, which uses 27 per cent; and the industrial segment, which is composed of the appliance and furniture manufacturing segment, utilising the remaining 23 per cent.
“We are seeing a surge in all three segments and are expecting more projects to be announced in countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the construction sector and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for oil and gas pipelines,” Ramnath says.
Jotun’s specialised powder coatings for architectural applications remains a top choice for some of the GCC region’s largest construction development projects.
Some key projects in the region that have used its products including prestigious Dubai landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, the Madinat Jumeirah, and Atlantis Hotel, Novotel Hotel, Sofitel Hotel – Palm Jumeirah and the Al Wasl Villas in Dubai; the Abu Dhabi Tower, Masdar University, Etihad Towers and Saadiyat Beach Apartment project in Abu Dhabi; Jaidah Commercial Building, Barwa Commercial Avenue, Qatar World Trade Centre, West Bay Lagoon and City Centre Towers in Qatar; the Bahrain World Trade Centre and Bahrain Financial Harbour in Bahrain; the Kuwait Business Town, Wafra Twin Towers and Central Bank of Kuwait in Kuwait; and the Bar Al Jissah development in Oman.
Aside from these projects, JPC’s functional products are also being widely used in oil and gas pipeline projects in the UAE and Kuwait.
Commenting on the market, he says: “Firmly established as the region’s leading powder coating supplier and manufacturer, the company has experienced an increased demand from its export markets, particularly from the African markets, which represent high growth areas for Jotun Powder Coatings in the coming years. The UAE is witnessing a slight upturn in the development and construction sector, which is ably reflected in the number of construction projects.”
The sales target set by JPC follows the company’s successful move to invest more than Dh25 million ($6.8 million) in the expansion of facilities and the development of more production lines in its Dubai facility in 2009 and 2010.
Worldwide, JPC has grown to become a leading multinational company with 10 manufacturing facilities strategically located in Norway, the Czech Republic, Turkey, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.