09/02/2014 09:57 AST

Asian Paints (Middle East) LLC, a joint venture between Al Hassan group and Asian Paints International, will commission its state-of-the-art paint plant in Sohar by December this year to meet the robust eight per cent growth in demand for paints in the country.

The new Sohar plant, with an investment of OMR5 million in the first phase, will have an installed capacity of 30-32 million litres of paint, which will take the company's total production to 42-44 million litres of paint per annum, a top-level official of the company told journalists on the sidelines of a training programme on advanced wood fishes organised by Berger Paints. Asian Paints, which is the third largest paint producer in Oman, sells all its paints under Berger Paints brand, after the company took over operations of Berger Paints worldwide some years ago.

The work on Sohar project, which is going to be the largest paint plant in Oman, started in October last year.

"We expect the paint market to grow by at least 7-8 per cent for the next five years. If market grows at this level, our growth obviously will be higher than the market growth," said PK Raj, General Manager of Asian Paints (Middle East) LLC. "We are the fastest growing paint producer in the Sultanate in the last four to five years."

He said the company's Ghala plant, which has an installed capacity of 12 million litres of paint per annum, is stretched for capacity (expansion). "We have reached a stage where we will not be able to make investments for adding capacity in Ghala plant. There are also rumours and talks about Ghala being converted into a residential-cum-commercial area. So, it is wiser to have production facilities elsewhere so that we don't face the problem of sudden shifting," explained the Asian Paints chief.

Raj also noted that his company would achieve its full envisaged production of 30-32 million litres per annum in Sohar only within two to three years of operation.

The Asian Paints chief pointed out that the total size of paint market in Oman is in the region of 40-42 million litres per year.

Demand for paints is mainly coming from re-painting purpose and from real estate sector for new paints.

Demand for paints is related to the development of real estate projects. However, re-paint segment (for both decorative and protective purposes) is a large segment as the average re-painting cycle in Oman is once in two years.

Citing the reasons for the company's investment in the new plant, he said the growth of construction sector is robust in Oman. The gross domestic product growth of Oman in the last few years is in the region of 5-8 per cent per annum and the construction sector is growing at a faster pace.

Berger Paints is in the process of launching six new products in the next couple of months, which include an ultra violet quoting and a Nanotechnology-based paint.


Times of Oman

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