BIG 5: ME construction sector very competitive
Entire world meets in Middle East, says expert
The Middle East construction sector is more competitive because of the number of different international markets meeting, a manufacturer of concrete plants has stated.
“The Middle East market is very tough,” reported Rainer Paetzelt, Middle East delegate of ELBA.
“The entire world markets meet here and this makes it different from any other market. You get some markets that are isolated on their own and they can be easier to break into but everyone is of the opinion that you can make easy sales here,” he added.
ELBA is a manufacturer of concrete plants, although it does not have a manufacturing base in the Middle East. Paetzelt revealed the company looks to collaborate with local markets for some components of its job.
“Our competitors don’t manufacture in this region but in the countries that surround it, and there is a difference in the standards,” commented Paetzelt.
“We have to compete with plants which are cheaper. German products are among the most expensive but there is a standard which is expected of a German manufactured product and that is something that you have to live up to. You feel the difference of the product later rather than straight away,” he added.
The company has, like most of the industry, experienced a difficult year. Paetzelt revealed that 2009 has been “tough” following an excellent year previously. “Internationally, key markets such as Russia broke down and here there was a significant drop also.”
The company’s Middle East involvement makes up around 10-15% of its worldwide activities and ELBA is looking to increase that figure through exhibiting at The Big 5.
“The challenges are actually being close to the projects which are coming up, in places such as Abu Dhabi, you get a checklist out, you get involved and you meet the key players. In this sector AlBA is a supporting company because we are doing plants which are for the construction business but we are not a key player like a developer. But it is a brand that is well known so it is more or less reminding people of our service,” stated Paetzelt.
“We are a regular exhibitor here, and come more or less just to show our face and keep in touch with clients. I would say it is a 60/40 split with 60% of our work here touching base with old clients and 40% waiting for new customers. It is all about building relationships,” he added.