Al Suhaimi: vision rewarded

Al Suhaimi: vision rewarded

Award spurs Sapin to innovate more

The company is on track to gain greater packaging glory with an eye on creativity, quality, convenience and compliance with the needs of the industries it serves

May 2015

On the heels of a prestigious award it won at the Canmaker Summit for its two-piece aluminium cheese can, Saudi Arabian Packaging Industries (Sapin) is building on that honour with efforts to create new products that will give it a further edge in a highly competitive packaging market.

“Sapin is looking at innovations within metal cans, mostly to do with developing new fancy shapes for packing chocolates. We’re also conducting trials on double reduced steel,” said deputy general manager Abdulrahman Al Suhaimi.

“The double reduced steel, a process where steel is pressed to make it thinner but also extremely strong, will allow us to make high-strength, lightweight cans,” explained Al Suhaimi.

In one of its recent milestones, Sapin began producing cans to pack engine oils for the automotive industry. The company is focused on increasing its presence in motor oil packaging and has set up a team in the Saudi Central Province to boost sales.

The Canmaker Summit, held last year in Hong Kong, is a respected forum that draws together a host of dynamic firms from the global packaging industry.

Sapin’s award-winning can for packing Kraft cheese received international appreciation for its attractive lightweight design and ease of use.  It was developed in partnership with a leading European packaging manufacturer for use by Mondelez International. It features an easy-open end and a specially formulated lacquer that helps release cheese easily. Cheese has a natural tendency to stick to edges which the new can overcomes, making it special.

“The prestigious award is testament to the combined vision and dedication of Sapin and its employees. We are very proud of this achievement; it’s not easy to win an award of such repute,” said Al Suhaimi. The company first began producing the two-piece aluminium cheese can in 2013.

The company describes its food cans of various types as its “area of dominance,” constituting about half of all its sales and enjoying steady annual growth of about 4 per cent. Another area of strength is its paint and industrial cans which Sapin supplies to major firms including Jotun, Akzo Nobel, Hempel, Dulux and Sipes. Sapin also makes aerosol cans whose sales did not register significant growth in 2014 in line with a forecast.

Overall, Sapin registered sales growth of approximately 15 per cent over budget in Q1. The steady growth of about 4 per cent in food cans is not surprising as the company has gained wide acceptance for its food packaging and with demand for food not affected by economic downturns the company can expect to be in business and advance on the strength of its innovativeness.

With demand for effective food packaging growing, the company is focusing on developing cans that are lightweight, colourful and attractive. The two-piece Kraft can the company developed and which won it a prize was a response to that need, it says.

The prize-winning easy-open two-piece aluminium cheese can

The prize-winning easy-open two-piece aluminium cheese can

Established in 1976 in Damam, Sapin has grown into one of the region’s largest and most-preferred packaging supplier.

“Since its inception, Sapin has demonstrated a continued passion for innovation and growth, manufacturing a wide range of consumer and industrial packaging products to leading local and multinational firms,” said Al Suhaimi. “Today, Sapin is the regional leader in food, paint, aerosol and plastic packaging, bringing to its customers a complete range of cost-effective products.

It operates four manufacturing facilities for its metal and plastic packaging containers. Three of these are in Dammam and one is located in Dubai. Among the Dammam plants, Sapin 1 is dedicated to coil cutting, coating and printing and Sapin 2 to the production of food packaging. Sapin 3 has a head office building and a plant to manufacture industrial cans, aerosol cans and plastic pails. The Dubai plant specialises in food packaging. The UAE plant has the Leed certification reflecting adherence to environment-friendly principles.

The company highlights that it was the first in the Middle East to produce aerosol cans  and adopt computer-to-plate printing technology to bring printing excellence to a new high. It also introduced heavy duty plastic pails in 2011 made from high-impact polypropylene and having the highest compression strength in its class with capability to be produced in a range of sizes.

While better known as a metal cans producer, Sapin is aware that plastics may one day be more widely accepted than now. Two years ago, Al Suhaimi stated that plastics was becoming increasingly important and that Sapin was planning investments and diversification to meet future requirements. However, it also acknowledges that metal packaging will not die out anytime soon thanks to its inherent qualities of strength and durability, better printing prospects and ability to withstand high temperatures.

Sapin is part of the Al Suhaimi Holding Company whose interests, besides packaging, include paint manufacturing, water well drilling, water pump supply and installation, manufacturing of water booster systems, piling services, real estate, travel and tours and general trading.

The company has a strong focus on corporate social responsibility and is involved in activities to raise breast cancer awareness (Think Pink) and promote healthy lifestyle initiatives in cooperation with the National Guard.

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