Mixing it up: concrete equipment sales in the GCC

Liebherr's Oliver Rduch says sales of concrete kit are on the rise

Oliver Rduch.
Oliver Rduch.

PMV: What are your main responsibilities?
Oliver Rduch: As senior sales and distribution manager at Liebherr’s Concrete Equipment Division, it’s my job to supply a range of concrete batching plants, concrete pumps, and concrete mixers to the Middle East’s
construction community.

PMV: How’s business?
OR: We started the year well. We supplied some new plants to a variety of customers across the Middle East. Kuwait and Oman still rank amongst our stronger markets, but we’re doing well across the region. Encouragingly, we’ve started to sell truck mixers in larger numbers, which indicates that there is an upswing in the construction market. Many of our customers had not upgraded their mixer fleets, so a lot of units are now coming up to be renewed.

PMV: Why do you think this is happening now?
OR: The majority of current-generation concrete mixers were purchased between 2007 and 2009. This means that many of these units are now between five and seven years of age. Liebherr often works with prime companies that need to constantly maintain high-quality fleets. We’re reaching the turning point whereby these firms are having to consider renewing their concrete mixer fleets.

PMV: So has confidence returned to the region’s construction sector?
OR: I think that confidence is definitely back. We expected quite a lot of orders to be released by the middle of this year. Unfortunately, that hasn’t occurred; many of the projects weren’t issued. We now expect those orders to arrive during Q1 2015.

PMV: Could you tell me about a few of the deals you’ve secured in 2014?
OR: This year, our Concrete Equipment Division received a big order from Quick Mix here in the UAE. They purchased 40 truck mixers. We received an order from Kuwait Portland Cement Co for 20 truck mixers. Also in Kuwait, Kuwaiti Manager Co purchased its second Liebherr batching plant. In Oman, we supplied a third batching plant to Sarooj, a firm that has also purchased concrete mixers from us in the past.

Liebherr plant is more expensive than some of our competitors, but if you do the sums and consider the matter from a total cost of ownership (TCO) perspective, you will see that the reduced downtime, the minimised maintenance, and the increased efficiency make our products the correct investment. When we see customers purchasing second, third, and fourth plants, it really demonstrates that they’re getting the benefits that we promise.

PMV: What trends do you expect to see during the coming years?
OR: I think that for obvious reasons, you will see more truck mixers entering the Middle East market. For the most part, I think that a sufficient number of batching plants are in place. However, as things get moving again, end users will need a larger number of high-quality mixers to spread their concrete faster, and to more remote locations than before.

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