RAK Ceramics, the world’s largest ceramics manufacturer, has reported exceptional performance in 2013, nearly achieving the annual profit of 2012 in the first nine months and expecting to end the 2013 financial year on a higher note.
“The increase reflects a sustainable business strategy of expansion into new markets and introduction of an innovative product range that opened new avenues for RAK Ceramics,” says Abdulla Mahmood, general manager, marketing and corporate communications.
“These have been further complemented with improved GCC market conditions and the construction and real estate sectors ramping up activity,” he said.
The company has generated a revenue of Dh3.3 billion ($900 million) on an average over the last three years (2010 to 2012) and over 80 per cent of the sales have come through exports.
RAK Ceramics exports to more than 160 countries worldwide. It has overseas plants and operations in Bangladesh, India, China, Sudan and Iran. Further, it has its own subsidiaries in Italy, Germany, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Australia and a few other markets.
The Ras Al Khaimah-based company has independent agents and distributors in many countries to assist its marketing efforts and maintain effective supply chain distribution.
RAK Ceramics is a complete interiors solution provider as it offers tiles, bathware, tableware, faucets and kitchen fittings and paints under one roof.
With the growing trend of eco-friendly interior solutions with exquisite designs, the most popular export items are RAK Ceramics’ speciality products which include:
• Lounge Series, which is RAK Ceramics’ best-selling porcelain tile series sold in more than 120 countries. It is recognised for its notable features such as high strength; low water absorption; resistance to frost, acid and alkali; and low maintenance costs;
• Wood Art Collection, which has a sublime wood-like finish that is an ideal substitute for actual wooden flooring without cutting trees and encourages users to be part of an eco-friendly society;
• Stone Art Collection and Concrete Collection, which are digitally enhanced tiles that act as replacements for natural stones conserving on usage of natural resources;
• Orion Collection and Marvel Collection, which are digitally enhanced tiles that act as replacements for marble flooring conserving on usage of natural resources;
• RAK Bathware, which has water closets with six-litre full flush and three-litre half flush, leading to water savings of 33 per cent. All bathware pieces are manufactured from recycled materials before firing and therefore considered eco-friendly products. Opulence, Elena, Metropolitan are a few most popular bathware models;
• Kludi RAK faucets and bathroom fittings, which are equipped with a water saving system which allows users to save up to 60 per cent on water consumption.
• Laticrete RAK, which offers tile grouts and adhesives as an eco-friendly solution for tile fixing.
THE GCC MARKET
Within the GCC, Saudi Arabia is the company’s main market mainly due to the size of the country and the current construction boom which is leading to increased demand for ceramic products. Demand is also strong in other GCC markets such as Oman and Qatar. On the European territory, Germany, UK and Italy are key markets as it has a strong presence there and offers a customised product range.
“We have better sales in these markets primarily because RAK Ceramics offers a wide range of products suited for a variety of applications and which provide value-for-money solutions. Having our offices in key markets also makes it easy for us to understand market needs and offer customised solutions to meet market demands quickly. RAK Ceramics’ strength has been in offering high quality and a technological advanced product range designed exclusively by top European design houses,” says Mahmood
OUTPUT AND JVS
As the world’s largest ceramics manufacturer, RAK Ceramics’ global annual production output is 117 million sq m of tiles, 4.5 million pieces of bathware and 20 million pieces of tableware. The product range of RAK Ceramics is huge but can be summarised as ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles, specialty tiles, bathware, tile adhesives, paints, faucets and tableware. RAK Ceramics uses more than 8,000 production models, with new designs added almost every week to its portfolio.
It produces the widest possible range in terms of manufacturing technologies and finishes in the porcelain tile segment, offering customers a single source for selection avoiding the necessity to source products from multiple ceramic companies. The company’s creations include the high-valued brand ‘Elegance Ceramics’ and it continues to be a global pioneer in the world of ceramics through its innovative eco-friendly products such as RAK Slim, Stone Art Collection, Orion Collection and Wood Art Collection produced using the latest Nanopix digital printing technology. It has also launched its trendy tiles in unique sizes of 25 cm by 70 cm and 20 cm by 50 cm appealing to the urban consumers. Further it has tapped into the children tiles segment with the launch of a Junior Tiles Collection.
RAK Ceramics has a joint venture with German-based Kludi to manufacture an eco-friendly range of taps, faucets and other accessories for sanitaryware products under the brand name Kludi RAK. RAK Ceramics offers tile adhesives and grouts in a joint-venture with Laticrete International Inc of USA that formed Laticrete RAK; and RAK Porcelain tableware range of products is targeted for the high-end hospitality industry. All these subsidiaries contribute to RAK Ceramics’ brand by offering complete value-added service to clients.
Commenting on the initiatives taken by the company to boost exports Mahmood said: “Investment in the best technology and state-of-the-art machineries has allowed the company to produce a wide range of high quality products.
“RAK Ceramics has an excellent research and development department that continuously strives to come up with innovative products to fill the gap in the market and meet the highest quality standards.”
The strength of RAK Ceramics, according to the official, has been its flexibility to adapt to changing trends and innovate itself to meet market expectations.
On the company’s plans for 2014, Mahmood said: “We are already expanding our sanitaryware production in India and Bangladesh in 2014 by doubling our capacity in these countries. This year is looking positive and with the recent successful Dubai’s bid for Expo 2020, it augurs well for the future of construction and real estate industry in the region. Hopefully the global economy improves further.
“RAK Ceramics is continuously evolving as a ceramics innovator and accordingly we are upgrading some of the machinery and equipment with the latest technology that will allow us to optimise the utilisation of resources to penetrate into new markets where traditionally tiles are not sold.
“There is a recent trend to use interiors inspired by nature such wood, natural stone and marble and accordingly the company has launched tiles that are replicas of these natural products. Moreover, there has been a growing trend to mix and match colours, designs and various natural finishes such as cement with wood or stone finish to give a unique look to interiors. They are customised with different shades, aesthetically fabulous, easy to install and low on maintenance.”