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New Rowad products doing well.

Strong sales of biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) film and geomembrane sheets are encouraging Rowad National Plastic Company to double production capacity. Production of both items began within the past two years. Rowad commissioned last February an 8.7-m-wide Andritz (DMT) BOPP line with a metalliser and capacity of 35,000 tonnes per year while at the end of 2009 it commenced production of 8-m-wide HDPE geomembrane sheets with capacity of 100,000 tonnes annually. The BOPP film is produced by its Rowad Global Packaging Company (RGPC) subsidiary. Rowad International Geosynthetics, producer of the geomembrane sheets, was Rowad's first joint venture with foreign partners. Both products have proved very successful in international markets, said business development manager Ashraf Shah. "At RGPC we're working at full capacity and plan to have a second line. We have laid the foundation and have a support equipment shed meant for two lines so that capacity can be doubled within the next year and a half. We're now talking to suppliers of machinery." The BOPP line offers transparent, non-heat sealable, heat-sealable and co-extruded material up to five layers and in white, opaque and pearlised grades. "The product is of tremendous value to packaging converters for a wide range of applications," said Shah. "Rowad stays committed to providing high-quality BOPP film on which we have hinged our reputation." Both BOPP film and geomembrane sheets are being shipped to global markets. Rowad, whose owner is the Saudi group Tasnee, also makes polycarbonate, acrylic, ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and HIPS (high impact polystyrene) sheets. The company has two sheet extrusion lines that support a total capacity of 20,000 tonnes annually.

Batteries and pails The production range includes injection-moulded automotive battery containers and rigid plastic containers (pails). The company's battery cases are consumed within and abroad and meant for American, European and Japanese vehicles. The company's pails come with in-mould labels that are ordered by industrial firms including paint manufacturers. Total sales of Rowad products were SR256 million ($68.2 million) in 2010 against SR143 million in the previous year. Geomembrane sheets contributed SR49 million to the turnover and injection-moulded products SR25 million. Sales of plastic sheets grew 12 per cent. With BOPP film entering the portfolio, total sales this year touched SR200 million until August. BOPP film could generate some SR140-SR150 million in sales by the end of this year, says Shah. The company's export graph is rising -- from 50 per cent in 2009 to 60 per cent in the following year and, expectedly, 76 per cent this year. The company attributes the export growth to aggressive international marketing, particularly of geomembrane sheets and BOPP film. "Traditionally, polycarbonate sheets followed by acrylic sheet were Rowad's leading products. Lately, Rowad geomembrane shot up to the top and now, hopefully, BOPP film will perform even better, thanks to its capacity," commented Shah. "Rowad is keen to keep growing every year by utilising plastic raw materials from Saudi petrochemical manufacturers. This adds value to local raw materials and creates jobs." The company has purchased 250,000 sq m of land in Dammam to accommodate future expansions.

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Publication:Gulf Industry
Date:Nov 1, 2011
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