What are your landmark projects or innovative practices?
NASER BUSTAMI Ras Al Khaimah does not have oil, but the mountains have been a rich source of raw materials for the cement, construction, and steel industries in the UAE, Gulf region, and Asia. We have the capacity to produce and sell more than 70 million tons per year of high-grade limestone, gabbro rock, concrete, and asphalt aggregates for the construction and manufacturing markets in these regions. We were involved in all the megaprojects in Dubai, such as Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, the World Islands, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Metro, Dubai Mall, Dubai International Airport expansion, JBR projects, Dubai Festival City, and Jebel Ali Container Terminal, among others. At the moment we are involved in projects such as Upper Zakkum, SARB, Das Island by ADNOC, Small Boat Harbor, and the new LNG terminal project in Bahrain. Expo 2020 is alsocoming up, and we are already supplying all the ready-mix plants in Dubai working on construction projects related to the event.
ABDALLAH MASSAAD From the beginning we aspired to have the best machinery, utilize the latest technology, and produce the best products for sale in the world. During the 2008 crisis, RAK Ceramics was among the least affected, and we continued to invest in new technology and were the first factory in the region to introduce digital printing. This allowed us to enter into many new segments at the time such as marble, stone, and different surfaces. Technology and innovation are at the heart of our philosophy, and we have continuously led the way in terms of product innovation. We are now one of the largest ceramics manufacturers in the world and have evolved from being a manufacturer of functional ceramics products to becoming a comprehensive producer of ceramics lifestyle solutions. RAK Ceramics was the first manufacturer in the GCC to introduce Continua+ technology, enabling us to manufacture super-sized slabs such as Maximus Mega Slab. We have also introduced environmentally friendly innovations that have allowed us to use less gas and energy during production. It is this commitment to innovation that has been fundamental to our success and something I plan to continue as part of our long-term strategy.
How much importance do you attach to environmental standards and eco-friendliness?
NB In our industry, we have to practice the latest and best standards and look for the latest technologies all the time. Therefore, environmental control measures have accounted for around 10% of our capital expenditure over the last five years, during which time we have implemented and maintained an environmental management system that meets all of the requirements of ISO 14001:2004. We work in close cooperation with Ras Al Khaimah Environment Protection and Industrial Development Authority, including introducing across all our sites advanced dust extraction systems that prevent environmental pollution. We have also totally enclosed all primary, secondary, and tertiary crushers, as well as screens, conveyors, and product bins.
What is your outlook for the ceramics industry?
AM The global ceramic tiles market is projected to reach USD125.32 billion by 2020, from 12.3 billion sqm in 2013 to 21.8 billion sqm by 2020. Traditionally, ceramic was only used in kitchens and bathrooms, but today it is used everywhere; it is substituting the use of natural wood, marble, stone, granite, and cement. The outlook is positive because ceramic is a superior product, and the industry is continuing to see new investment. Our focus markets are the GCC, India, and Bangladesh, followed by Europe, MENA, and northwestern Africa. Other markets where we see opportunities are the Americas and Russia. These are important markets where we are selling but do not yet have a strong presence. We are already available in more than 150 countries, but will always continue to seek out new opportunities.