Slic’s office in Dammam

Slic’s office in Dammam

Slic prepares to raise output

Saudi Leather Industries Company is in the growth mode and with the extension of a Saudi Aramco contract and high-profile clients it has much to be happy about

October 2014

One of the Gulf’s most successful manufacturers of high-volume industrial safety, work and military footwear, Dammam-based Saudi Leather Industries Company (Slic),  will see its production capacity rise some 30 per cent when casting equipment from Italy’s Gusbi is introduced  by earlynext year.

Slic general manager Khalid Al Jabr said the new machine will enable higher volumes to be produced in quicker time than is currently possible.

Current production capacity is 800,000 pairs annually and Slic was able to produce around 650,000 pairs in 2013 for a total value of SR62 million in 2013, up 12.8 per cent over the previous year.

Best sellers in 2013 were safety and military footwear in 15 styles, together contributing close to 75 per cent of all sales.

“As well as the decision to introduce the Gusbi machine, significant developments in recent months included the signing of a purchase agreement with Saudi Aramco for another three years until 2017,” said Al Jabr.

Saudi Aramco is one of several leading  firms in the kingdom that are clients of Slic including Saudi Electricity Company, Amiantit, Savola, Almarai, Zamil, Al Yamama, Nesma, Al Suwaidi, Saudi Oger, Saudi Airlines and Saudi Binladen.

“Our business focus for the next few years will be standardisation in all aspects,” asserted Al Jabr who is optimistic Slic business will strengthen under prosperous Gulf economies and investments in industrial and commercial establishments as Slic sales are linked to growth in those fields and the consequent need to equip staff with appropriate footwear.  “Considering infrastructure and developmental projects are underway or expected to commence in the near future and with Gulf economies having surplus funds, we are optimistic we will advance over the next three years,” he said.

A Desma machine with robotics at Slic’s production facility

A Desma machine with robotics at Slic’s production facility

The company’s production facilities are located in the Second Industrial City of Dammam, Eastern Province, and it has accreditation to the quality management system ISO 9001: 2008. It follows the Eniso: 20345 and ASTM 2413 standards for safety footwear and Mill specifications for military boots. The company has an in-house laboratory which has come up with improvements from time to time including a “composite toe cap”. The company earlier operated under technical collaboration with Wolverine Inc, USA, which also had a share in the company but Slic is now fully Saudi owned.

The latest expansion follows one that was completed three years ago when a 30-station Desma injection-moulding machine was installed, taking capacity to its present level. The footwear that the company makes has applications in such sites as factories, foundries, electrical facilities, hospitals, security guard rooms and defence establishments.

Safety boots account for an overwhelming majority of the total turnover, around 80 per cent.

The company has penetrated export markets with 20.81 per cent of the sales revenue of 2013 coming from overseas purchases. Its main export markets are the GCC states and the wider Middle East and African countries. It penetrated the Kenya market in 2011 and expects to deepen and expand its overseas footprint by participating in exhibitions that will showcase its products to existing and unreached export markets.

Al Jabr says the company will appoint associates abroad as part of its efforts to step up its foreign sales.

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