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Painting a broad picture

Dow Coating Materials, a supplier of raw material to the paints industry, covers all segments, including industrial and architectural. In the regional market since the 1970s, the company has eight offices in MENAT. Climate Control Middle East spoke to Jan Weernink, Marketing Director (Dow Europe); Omar Ayoub, Commercial Director (MENAT and SSA) and Khaled Abou Ghoneim (Technical Service Leader (MENA). Excerpts …

| | May 7, 2014 | 3:40 pm
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Dow Coating Materials, a supplier of raw material to the paints industry, covers all segments, including industrial and architectural. In the regional market since the 1970s, the company has eight offices in MENAT. Climate Control Middle East spoke to Jan Weernink, Marketing Director (Dow Europe); Omar Ayoub, Commercial Director (MENAT and SSA) and Khaled Abou Ghoneim (Technical Service Leader (MENA). Excerpts …

may2014-interv01How has the scope of paints evolved and increased in the buildings industry?

If you think of buildings, there are a lot of elements, including safety, environment, energy efficiency, reduction of energy consumption and cooling. In a building, you have air conditioning units and cooling towers, and whenever you have water, you have calcium deposits and so a need for descaling. Dow also delivers a product that prevents algae and mould.

Paint seems simple, but it is not. We have been painting from the time of caves. Paints have evolved – not just in terms of colour but also of functionality.

One of the exciting developments is the formaldehyde-abatement feature in paints – a polymer that can scavenge formaldehyde out of the air. This is a novel and niche feature that can help where air conditioning has limitations.

This feature is important when you consider the fact that formaldehyde is a silent killer.

Paint can contribute to insulation coating or solar reflectance. Nowadays, paints are substantially greener. We offer polymers that are zero to low VOCs, and so you can have paints of such nature.

Overall, when you look at paints nowadays, you have nice colour, anti-microbial property and low VOC. All these things combined give a full solution.

When it comes to sick-building syndrome, our products can help there. Be it high relative humidity or condensation, paints can offer support as part of total solution in a building.

How do you contribute to reducing outdoor air pollution, which has an impact on IAQ?

To give one example, there are technologies for cleaning the tunnels off microdust, which diesel engines emit.

With the array of features that you mention, it must be a battle to keep costs down, yes? How would paints of such specialised nature, which translate to higher costs, find a market here? We are talking of a cost-conscious culture in the region, aren’t we, which means the market would still opt for cheaper paints?

We need to unpack the argument that this is cost-conscious market. While Europe and the US have advanced regulation, paint manufacturers here are committed to the community here and practice self-regulation.

Overall, functionality has become title of the game. Paints are becoming a consumer item. The greatest growth in the coating industry is coming from consumers, because the public expects health, safety, sustainability and performance. Self-regulating companies are selling higher than other companies, because the consumer wants a long-term solution. The market has a need and is willing to pay a premium to meet the need. We are providing full support to our customer. We are making the product from JAFZA in bulk and best-in-class lab with people handpicked for expertise, who develop solutions for market needs.

Speaking of which, did you know that two billion dollars is spent on research and development into paints the world over.

What are the drivers for growth for the paints industry in the GCC?

Young people that require jobs and houses constitute a driver. There are a number of reports on market need per country. The leading market is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Overall, two trillion dollars is going to be invested in projects and infrastructure in the region. And one trillion is going to be invested in the industrial sector, so there are opportunities here.

Consumer awareness on functionality is another major driver. There is greater awareness on health and safety.

In addition, Dubai winning the bid to host the 2020 World Expo and Qatar winning the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup are also major drivers.


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