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Five minutes with Jeet Khanna, Gyproc Middle East

by Paromita Dey on Nov 21, 2016

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How would you assess the Middle East’s construction materials market at present?

Despite a recent slowdown in business in some GCC countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, as a result of lower oil revenues, the Middle East construction market, overall, is still enjoying significant year-on-year growth. The market is certainly tougher, but there are a number of factors driving growth, particularly the strength of the region’s ongoing diversification and economic development programmes, which are underpinned by robust sovereign wealth fund reserves.

With 25 million visitors expected to visit the region for Expo 2020, and interest generated by the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, growth in infrastructure, hospitality, and associated areas also remain very strong. So, overall, we are very positive about the medium- to long-term growth prospects for our business in the region.

How has business been for Gyproc ME in the Middle East during the past year?

Business has undoubtedly become more challenging with increasingly tough competition, rising costs, project postponements in some countries, and increasing pressure on prices. Such factors make it more difficult to remain competitive and maintain our market share.

However, we have seen phenomenal growth in our business during the past 12 months due to our robust strategy and commitment to our customers. We have a very strong relationship with our customers; an ongoing stream of new and innovative products that have continued to open up fresh opportunities across the region; and a very experienced and committed team, which has proved itself capable of facing any challenges.

In which Middle East markets are Gyproc’s products currently in highest demand?

Since opening our new plasterboard plant in Abu Dhabi in 2010, we have continued to develop excellent business relationships across the Middle East. Our high-performance systems are well-known and in demand across all the region’s markets. The high level of support we enjoy in each market, and the growing demand for modern, lightweight building systems, means we are now involved in megaprojects across many countries. These include Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Midfield Terminal project; Al Ain Hospital in the UAE; W Hotel in Oman; SANG Hospitals in Saudi Arabia; and the Workers’ Hospital in Qatar, to name just a few.

What are Gyproc’s plans for The Big 5 2016?

The Big 5 has become one of the most important platforms for construction product manufacturers, and Saint-Gobain will again be supporting it with a presentation by all of its companies operating in the Middle East. The group will be adopting a habitat-led approach, with the focus firmly on multi-comfort living spaces – improving health and wellbeing in our homes, schools, workplaces, and other buildings. For its part, Gyproc will be launching a high-strength, high-performance plasterboard, which is expected to have a major impact on the way we build in future.

We will also be constructing a special climbing wall – originally designed in Belgium – and will bring along a team of professional climbers. These individuals use climbing points fixed directly into our new Habito plasterboard, without any supplementary support.

What are Gyproc’s priorities in the Middle East for 2017?

As already stated, our sights are set on continuous growth. We will achieve this through maintaining and developing local relationships with existing and new customers; having regular programmes for product innovation and improvement; and adopting a strategic approach in certain key markets.

Sustainability will continue to be a major focus for 2017, and we’ll be working with contractors to reduce waste and increase the recycling of site-generated plasterboard waste through our new recycling facility in Mussafah, Abu Dhabi. Our plant will feed recycled waste plasterboard back into our new board production process, saving disposal costs for contractors and reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.