Optimistic on growth, the company will welcome additional capacity this year with further expansions planned as innovations and niche products attract demand
The UAE’s Gulf Extrusions (Gulfex), one of the largest aluminium product makers in the Gulf, has witnessed 10 per cent growth in business during the first half of this year as compared with the same period last year.
“We have seen steady year-on-year growth over the past few years,” said Ihab Mouallem, commercial director, Gulf Extrusions.
Gulf Extrusions, member of Metals Industries – Al Ghurair Group, produces aluminium extruded profiles ranging from architectural, industrial and automotive sections to furniture, marine applications, transportation, and customised products.
Awarded the ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004, ISO/TS 16949:2009, DNV and the full range of specialised certificates, Gulf Extrusions was the first extrusion company in the GCC to receive the Emirates Quality Mark certification from the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology as well as a Certificate of Appreciation from the Dubai Quality Group. The company was awarded the OHSAS certificate in August 2014.
According to Mouallem, 2014 was a phenomenal year for the company as it registered 25 per cent growth over 2013.
“Growth came from both local and export markets,” he said. The company exports to the GCC, Middle East, India, Africa, the US and China. It has offices in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, India, Ethiopia, Holland and the UK. It recently established an office in Oman.
“The local market contributes to around 60 per of our business, and nearly 80 per cent of our production goes to the construction sector. Locally we experienced growth from the architectural sector,” he said.
In the GCC its major markets are the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar as these economies are based on construction.
The Jebel Ali-based company is also increasing its production capacity. “Our current capacity is 50,000 tonnes and we crossed 90 per cent of that last year. We are adding additional capacity of around 22,000 tonnes before the end of this year.”
It plans further expansions in 2017 and 2018.
Commenting on new products and systems, he said: “Innovation is very important for us and we are constantly developing new products. Currently we are working on a solution for restaurants. We are developing a fully glazed dismountable solution for air conditioning outdoor areas during summer months. The system can be removed when not required.”
Earlier the company had launched its first locally designed fire-rated door system.
“Fire-X87 is the first system in aluminium as most of the existing systems in the market are in steel, “ Mouallem pointed out.
“With a fire rating integrity of 90 minutes, the company’s fire-resistant door has been proven to significantly reduce fire risk and promote higher level of safety and security. The fire test signifies our goal to provide high quality products to keep customers safe and protected.
“The integral element of Fire-X87 is its breakthrough design. We carefully studied the effect of fire and smoke on aluminium and glass to help us develop the right system that can withstand fire for 90 minutes, with an end goal of reducing risks and protecting people. The successful fire test demonstrated that our efforts have been paying off. Rest assured that we will continue with our commitment to provide top-notch products to the industry. We are proud to introduce our first fully tested fire-rated aluminium door to the market, which is the first in the Middle East region and reflects true Emirati standard of excellence.”
The company has also introduced a new thermal break system called TB105, a sliding window system.
“The product is economical and effective in reducing heat transfer. In the UAE there is regulation to move towards sustainability. We already have a very high-end system called Montana which has a good market share in the UAE and Qatar and now we have come up with a more economical system. It has the same features as thermal break insulating systems but is an economical version, “ said Mouallem.
It is cheaper to fabricate as the materials used are more economical. It meets local and green building regulations.
“Designing such systems comes from the market requirements. There is a demand in the market for mid-range doors and window systems,” he said.
He further said: “We cater to the niche market with commercial markets having the highest volume. We are looking at the high-end and mid-high market segments and will develop products to meet the requirements of architects. This market segment is growing and we are increasing capacity to meet the requirements.
“We also looking at increasing our representation in Africa and also looking eastwards to expand to Asian countries. India is a very good market we have been growing 60 per cent year on year.”