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MEP Conference 2017: Meet the sponsors

Tatiana Abou Chedid, marketing manager at API (Advanced Plastic Industries), talks to MEP Middle East about the upcoming MEP Conference and how API has been doing business-wise

Tatiana Abou Chedid, marketing manager at API.
Tatiana Abou Chedid, marketing manager at API.

Tatiana Abou Chedid, marketing manager at API (Advanced Plastic Industries), talks to MEP Middle East about the upcoming MEP Conference and how API has been doing business-wise.

 

Please introduce your company.

Advanced Plastic Industries S.A.L. (API) was established in 1994, primarily as a manufacturer of the finest plastic pipes and fittings solutions for the construction industry. The API factory is nestled in the heart of the Industrial Zone in Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon. It occupies approximately 10,000m2, and operates 24-hours a day.

The API family strives to conform to its core values of constant innovation, superior quality, and client satisfaction. This collective goal unites our organisation under one objective, creating an exceptional pipe system that is high in performance, and is reliable, durable, faster, and easier to install. It is also hygienic for drinking water and environmentally friendly.

Our topnotch piping system is developed and manufactured within an ISO 9001 quality assurance system, and complies with the most recent and relevant international standards (namely the European Standard –EN & the German Standard –DIN) for matters of product specification, quality control, employee welfare, and environmental protection. We are also proud holders of various renowned certifications (such as, the SKZ, TZW and DVGW from Germany), that allow for both, local and global, recognition and approval. Accordingly, all pipes and fittings are tested for quality and performance in API's contemporary in-house laboratory before reaching the marketplace.

What was your main motivation for signing up as a sponsor this year?

The MEP Conference unifies the finest of the region’s MEP and HVAC community under one roof, and brings together decision makers across the industry. We believe the GCC region, and in particular, Dubai with the Expo 2020 build-up, offer sufficient room for our high-quality products. This is especially the case for high-rise towers, where we have demonstrated our performance time and again, in installations that demand high temperature and pressure resistance. Therefore, in line with our overall expansion plans, and our UAE market penetration, the event presents an opportunity for API to generate awareness regarding the ultimate pipe solutions we have to offer. The conference will also provide us with prospects of networking with potential customers who are at the industry’s forefront.

We are confident that with such exposure, we can get our message of superior quality across to all the stakeholders involved in the construction industry, and eventually augment our sales activities in the region.

What are you looking forward to the most at the conference this year?

API is built with a mission and a commitment to offer products of superior quality, through constant innovation, whilst focusing on client satisfaction. At API, acquiring knowledge about industry needs and struggles is an integral component of our business model. We believe that an in-depth understanding of the UAE’s MEP sector will help us better adapt our overall business efforts and outcomes to the given market. Consequently, we are looking forward to hearing from the frontrunners of the MEP industry, as they address issues and opportunities that fall under the umbrella of the UAE’s MEP sector. The chance to discuss and comprehend today’s key concerns will allow us to attest our position as thought leaders, better incorporate API in the region’s up-and-coming MEP community, and keep us ahead of the game.

Interview continues on the next page...

What have you been up to this year business wise?

For several years now, we have focused on PP-RCT for water supply applications. In return, our credibly and high quality standards have translated into widespread industry recognition. Today, API is acknowledged as one of the major players and trendsetters in the pipe business, and has achieved multiple milestones along the way. We are amongst the first companies to adopt PP-RCT globally, and were the first company to acquire the SKZ mark and DVGW approval on PP-RCT products. Moreover, in accordance with the EN and ISO standards, and due to our superior PP-RCT raw material, API holds the only approved product for heating installations to date.

New product

This year, we expand our product range by introducing our new and innovative brand for silent drainage, ApiSilence®. The brand consists of acoustically insulating and mineral-filled pipes and fittings, made from the finest polypropylene co-polymers, for drainage and rainwater. The system provides ductility, high resistance to impact and abrasion, and excellent endurance to chemicals present in detergents. Taking advantage of push-fit connections with certified rubber seals, installation time and cost can be reduced. ApiSilence® now enables us to offer our clients near-to-full domestic water piping solutions, mainly attending to the hotel industry. The system will add tremendous value to both hotel developers, and surely hotel guests.

Expansion of production capacity and product range

We are currently in the process of increasing production capacity across all divisions. We are happy to announce that this year we are doubling our production capacity for our ApiThene® (polyethylene) and ApiDrain® (polypropylene) brands. Furthermore, we will also be developing our existing PP-RCT range to reach higher diameters, in order to cover wider fields of application.

Expansion of facilities

To meet the growing needs of the local and export markets, in parallel to accommodating product development, we will soon be expanding our factory premises, and will unite our factory grounds and headquarters in the same location. The expansion project will allow an increase in production volume by 40%, and will create approximately 30 job opportunities. This development will continue to set the benchmark for the production of high-end quality pipes and fittings, both locally and internationally.

Market entry and expansion plans

We remain up-to-date and expand in formation with the global construction industry, in order to close all loopholes of piping requirements in the building sector. Our expansion plans are in step with our company’s vision: We aim to gain worldwide recognition as a leading manufacturer who satisfies the need for superior quality plastic pipes and fittings, through constant development and innovation by our team of experts. At present, our brands are available and purchased in numerous countries around the world. A solid sales team, including a dedicated export department and a broad distribution network, consist of over 140 competent distributors, who currently service the local and regional markets. Nonetheless, we are continuously seeking to expand our leadership to additional export markets.  Our regional distributors are present in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, UAE, Qatar, and KSA. Our countries of export are Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Algeria, Sudan, Nigeria, Liberia, Benin, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, and the Netherlands

New company

Seeing potential in the demand for superior performing pipe systems in Dubai, and in order to enhance the sales activity in the given market, ‘API International Marketing’ was established. The Dubai-based company began its daily operations at the kick off of the year 2017. It is providing support to API Lebanon, in terms of marketing and technical services, to better cater to the UAE, and the GCC region.

Interview continues on the next page...

How is the market shaping up? What market trends have you noticed this year?

The UAE market is definitely characterised with rapid growth. With fast paced developments, come greater challenges that impact various aspects of any business. API’s topmost challenge today, which can also be considered a current market trend, is the perception of cost and price-orientation, as well as strong resistance to change and knowledge.

In our time, the slowdown in government expenditure, and general consumer sentiment has resulted in tighter liquidity, and tougher cash retention. Accordingly, it is quite common to come face-to-face with budgets cuts. For a high quality manufacturer such as API, this poses as an obstacle to overcome, especially when aiming to direct the market towards superior quality with justifiable prices.

Nevertheless, our business relationships prevail with clients and engineering firms who value innovation and quality, and are open to adopting new technologies, rather than adhering to traditional ways of construction. We are optimistic about the UAE market, and the volume of the upcoming projects that are slowly, but surely, shifting to higher standards of quality. Therefore, we will fight to resist, the status quo of adopting the use of average products, and will resume our efforts by ensuring that our message of quality is communicated and heard. Moreover, we are fully conscious that attaining the highest quality possible comes with a price; however, we are also aware that at the finish line, our efforts will prosper and result in win-win scenarios time and again.

What are the main opportunities and challenges in the market?

Some of the opportunities in the market are high-developing construction market, abundance of design and consultancy firms, projects relying on high quality, diversity and scale of the construction market (residential, hotels, commercial), and access to regional markets (UAE's point of strength). Some of the challenges we observe are high levels of competition, strong resistance to change, price-orientation and budget cuts (at the expense of quality), economic instability, and real-estate market reliability.

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