Construction sector to remain positive in Dubai, executives say

MAPEI, the privately owned Italian construction chemicals, yesterday inaugurated its expanded facilities in Dubai.

The company is hoping to increase its market share with an additional 5,200 square metres to its facility, through producing new lines and offering more space for storage and exports, said Stefano Iannacone, Director of MAPEI for Middle East and East Africa region.

 “We have reached the point where the product portfolio that were manufactured here, we have reached the ceiling in the market share. In order to grow, we have to come with products that are not sold by MAPEI before, although present in our range globally, were not sold in Dubai, in the UAE or wider GCC. So this will give us an opportunity to grow even faster,” said Iannacone in an interview with Gulf News on the sideline of the inauguration at the company’s site in the Industrial Park.

According to the Italian executive, the need for construction chemicals continues despite any concerns over a slowdown in the sector.

“I know they [some people] say the construction sector is suffering, [and] is on a down turn. However, it is a two-fold thing. The numbers you are talking about is huge. Even if it is decreasing by twenty billion, there is still a hundred billion business to grab. We supply materials, and materials for the construction are not the one suffering,” he said. “The construction spending that is decreasing, in my opinion, are for luxurious finishes or projects that are iconic but not functional. When you talk about housing, schools, hospitals, airports, ports, bridges, roads, there is no cut in these projects. These projects are required to accomplish the vision of the leaders of this country.”

Also, there is the business “cycle”, said Iannacone. “Meaning, when you start from zero, it is very easy to grow a 100 per cent a year, but once you are at 1,000, you cannot grow a 100 per cent anymore. So obviously, the growth will shrink.”

MAPEI’s Dubai facility is the biggest for the company, which celebrated last year its 80th anniversary worldwide and its 10th anniversary in the emirate. Today, Milan-headquartered MAPEI, has 82 subsidiaries including 75 plants in 34 countries.

The company produces materials that are used for waterproofing basements all the way up to the products used in roofing during construction, Iannacone said.

Nearly 75 per cent of the production of different lines in the Dubai facility is going to the local market, while nearly 25 per cent is exported to other parts of the Gulf Region, according to the regional director.

Commenting on the anticipated impact of Expo 2020 to be held in Dubai after nearly 20 months, Iannacone said, “Of course Expo 2020 will boost the construction industry”.

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