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Paints and coatings sector needs a fresh coat of paint

The sector needs to focus on R&D and on tailoring products to suit the GCC region, say experts

| | Feb 14, 2016 | 10:05 am
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Two mega events – World Expo 2020, in Dubai and 2022 FIFA World Cup, in Qatar – have fuelled large-scale construction activity across the GCC region. One such industry that has drawn benefits as a consequence of this development is the paints and coatings sector. However, industry experts feel that there are many challenges that plague the sector, which need to be addressed.

Ahmed El Bayaa, Regional Sales Manager at Caparol, said that one of the biggest challenges faced by the industry was the lack of stringent regulation for the paints and coatings sector. Although there were some regulations in every GCC country, he said, they were insufficient and needed to be reviewed. Elaborating further, El Bayaa said, nearly all regulations focused on the composition of the paint and no attention was being given to performance. “One of the biggest challenges,” he said, “is, in fact, the absence of a minimum quality set by local regulations towards performance of paints. This would provide a benchmark for the market, as well as guidance to companies on what to produce and to consumers on what to purchase.”

Al Bayaa also identified some areas that required more attention. The GCC region, he said, lacked real research and development on not just paint formulations but also on raw materials and supplies to produce paint that were necessary to cater to local requirements. “All multinational companies have R&D centres somewhere in Europe or US,” he said. “They try to fit the products they develop there to the local market in the GCC [region].” It was an attempt that did not always work, he added.

Bringing another point to focus, Mark Swan, Director (Middle East) of Advanced Materials, said the harsh summers in the GCC region necessitated a formula, where paints could reject heat. In addition, people are exposed to paint fumes – an IAQ hazard – at homes, schools, malls and offices, and it needed to be addressed, Swan said. “With antimicrobial and anti-pollution features,” Swan explained, “paint can absorb and destroy spores, mould, germs, NOx and many other air pollutants, including VOCs.” Further, he said, paints with high solar reflectance index (SRI) value could keep buildings cool and bring down energy costs.


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