Rowad is one of the Gulf’s leading plastic products manufacturers

Rowad is one of the Gulf’s leading plastic products manufacturers

New markets enthuse Rowad

More than two decades on, one of the Middle East’s prominent plastics producer is en-joying success in far-flung markets having already made an impact in the GCC region

June 2014

Rowad National Plastic Company recently succeeded in penetrating the US market, sending consignments of polycarbonate (PC) and the acrylic material PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate).

The two products are the fastest moving in local and export markets among the company’s offerings, said its exports sales manager Tanvir Ali.

Other plastics the company manufactures are general purpose polystyrene (GPPS), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), high impact polystyrene (HIPS), polyethylene and polystyrene.

“PC and PMMA account for approximately 60 per cent of sales with 25 per cent of the turnover coming from exports,” said Ali. The company sells overseas to markets including the GCC area and the wider Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, Europe and Australia.

“The GCC accounts for the biggest chunk of exports, around 50 per cent, with Qatar as number one, followed by Kuwait, the UAE and Bahrain,” said Ali.

Commenting on the US breakthrough, he said Rowad started exporting to the market just last year. “We succeeded purely on grounds of quality which is on a par with leading international brands. Our prices were competitive. American parties import the material as sheet for conversion into products that markets need.

“We’re hopeful of growth there. They appreciate our products and there are no issues.”

Rowad National Plastic Company is a prominent exporter

Rowad National Plastic Company is a prominent exporter

As well as the US, Eastern Europe is a new market, coming on the back of success in Italy. As in the case of Italy, Eastern Europe has been taking Rowad’s PC and PMMA. “We’re hoping our footprint in Eastern Europe deepens and we’re optimistic considering we have already tasted success in Italy and we have experience of more than two decades in the plastics business.”



The company is making strong efforts in Africa which is industrialising at a brisk pace. “We’re opening up the whole continent with our export experience in Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Algeria. We started exports to Sudan four years ago and we’re negotiating to enter South Africa. We’re also targeting Nigeria, Ghana and East Africa,” Ali revealed.

Rowad prefers to appoint distributors in each country. The company has distributors in Sudan and North Africa and plans to have similar representatives in Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda.

It began exports to Australia three years ago and views it as a promising market.

While polycarbonate as a whole enjoys good demand, textured PC is what most buyers in the domestic and export markets want most, said Ali. He is confident PC will gain momentum as a replacement for glass because, he stresses, it is 250 times stronger than glass. The official also stated that around 80 per cent of PMMA goes to the advertising industry for use in objects such as billboards. The company’s plant is in Riyadh and 60 per cent of its capacity is understandably for making PC and PMMA. Rowad is producing close to capacity and an expansion is in the planning stage with work likely to begin in a year and a half. Again the expansion will take due note of the market appeal of PC and PMMA.



The Gulf’s focus on starting or expanding railway lines is seen as good news for Rowad sales as contractors like to settle on PC for skylights at stations. Firms working in the real estate market also view PC favourably, again for its use in skylights and other structures.

PC is favoured by the construction industry

PC is favoured by the construction industry

A highlight of recent times has been the growth of the Qatar market. “In the last one year our Qatar sales have climbed to reach a position next to Saudi Arabia. And although we’re expecting growth in the UAE, the tempo is most evident in Qatar,” Ali commented. Rowad has an authorised agent in Doha and among the projects its PC has gone into are a stadium and several hotels. The prospect of greater business there is clearly real considering that considerable headway has already been made in that market and the state will be embarking on infrastructure projects in connection with the Soccer World Cup in 2022.

In the UAE, the company is competing with a party making PC but Ali is confident it can maintain its sales and grow on the strength of Rowad’s longstanding expertise and success in global markets.

Rowad National Plastic Company, a limited firm of the Rowad plastic group, was established in 1992 at Riyadh. It is a subsidiary of the National Industrialisation Company (Tasnee), a Saudi joint stock company registered on the Tadawul exchange. Tasnee is one of the leading petrochemical companies in the Middle East and has featured among the top100 companies in Saudi Arabia.



The Rowad plastic group is well known in the field of specialised engineering plastic conversion and its products are exported to more than 30 countries.

The group has two independent joint venture companies, one of which is Rowad International Geosynthetic Company, which produces geomembranes. It is highly specialised in manufacturing high-density polyethylene and linear low-density polyethylene geomembrane liners through blown film processing. The other joint venture firm is Rowad Global Packaging Company, maker of biaxial oriented polypropylene (BOPP) film. The BOPP plant is capable of producing 35,000 tonnes annually but this capacity is in the process of being doubled. Later, the company expect to install four more lines to supply quality film to global markets.

“Rowad offers its customers a consistent high quality array of technologically advanced film products through an advance manufacturing and distribution network backed by an industrial leader in research and development,” a group statement says.

It offers both standard and speciality film suitable for diverse applications including food packaging, labelling and adhesive tapes.

The group plans to develop in the Hail Industrial Area innovative plastic products such as green film for agriculture, plastic pallets, water recycling units and plastic pipes. It is investing SR300 million and has been allocated 100,000 sq m of land by Modon.

It is eyeing new viable business opportunities to add value to locally available petrochemicals and create job opportunities.

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