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Abu Dhabi 2017 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Mounir S. Haddad, CEO of ADNIP, on developing innovative new product lines to crack new markets, improving machine efficiency, and working with global partners to rationalize business lines.

Mounir S. Haddad
BIOGRAPHY
Mounir S. Haddad, a Lebanese national, has more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, the Gulf, and Middle East. During that time, he has been the General Manager at Indevco Group, the Managing Director at Takween Industries in Saudi Arabia, and is now is the CEO of Abu Dhabi National Industrial Projects Co. (ADNIP). He has a degree in chemical engineering from the American University of Beirut.

How was ADNIP's performance over the past year and what were the company's major accomplishments?

We experienced great growth across all of our business lines in the past year. Our paper production line increased turnover from 65,000 to 95,000 tons in a 12-month period, and we were fully booked with no spare quantity left to sell. The new machine produces advanced NTT paper, a higher absorbance, softer, and bulkier paper with unique qualities that is only produced in Mexico, Chile, and the UAE. This new product opened doors to the European market. Different multinationals have approached us to commercialize NTT paper. On the other hand, our carpet business also increased, and we went from selling 200 million to 270 million per year. We improved the efficiency of the machines to produce larger quantities with less material wastage. Our medical devices segment also performed well in the production of auto-disable syringes for vaccination, where we remain the major supplier for UNICEF and the Pan-American Health Organization.

Your expansion process has encountered problems related to competition from mass-production companies. How has ADNIP responded?

Mass production centers, such as China, Turkey, and India, represent our fiercest competition because they sell at lower prices and apply dumping practices when introducing their products into tertiary markets. However, our strength is in quality rather than quantity, and we maintain a strong client base with companies that are conscious of quality and conform to tight schedules. Mass production competitors find it more difficult to comply with timings and deliveries, and that is where they lose out in comparison to ADNIP.

Which markets represent the bulk of your operations for the paper production line?

Our main market is Saudi Arabia, to which we export around 40% of our production. In recent years, they have shifted from what we used to call 100% recycled paper or super commercial paper, which was 70% recycled and 30% prime pulp, into prime quality paper, which is far more expensive due to its purity. Other than that, we are also exporting to Europe where the biggest tissue companies such as Kimberly Clark are coming to the UAE and shipping our products to their markets. To the UK alone, we ship 500 tons of paper every month.

The healthcare sector in the UAE is projected to become a USD20 billion industry by 2020. How will ADNIP capitalize on this opportunity?

Our medical devices lines went through long periods of stagnation before taking off. Until recently, we used to depend heavily on our global partners such as UNICEF to support the line, because there are many requirements, qualifications, and red tape to overcome before fully commercializing this type of product. We recently won the tender from the Ministry of Health and are now working closely with the armed forces and all the medical entities in the UAE to supply them with medical devices.

Which markets have been most receptive to your reusable medical devices?

Around 90% of our medical devices are shipped outside of the UAE, mainly to Africa, Latin America, and the Arab world. We currently ship around 400 million syringes annually. In addition, our partnership with UNICEF opens the door to countries with a strong presence to these programs, from India to Lebanon to Southeast Asia.

What do you see for the future of the company in the next three years?

The company is currently worth AED800 million, which we are working to make AED2 billion in the next two years. Immediate plans for 2017 are to do mergers and acquire new business lines that will awake the interest of other companies. We are looking to diversify our scope to cover other industries such as aluminum, steel, carpentry, and the like. There is a great future in these areas and, despite the current economic adversity, I see a great performance for ADNIP for 2017.