Stanislas Lacroix stands at the threshold of taking over the reins at the Aldes Group. Climate Control Middle East in conversation with the CEO-in-waiting, who visited Dubai in early December …
What direction do you wish Aldes to take under your leadership?
The two major areas for Aldes are indoor air quality (IAQ) and energy efficiency. We wish to continue producing products that promote energy efficiency. In Europe, you have the BBC rating system, which defines a level of consumption per square metre and the way the building has to be designed. In Europe, a lot of importance is given to IAQ and to lowering power consumption of buildings and carbon emissions. In Europe, we try to reduce the energy consumption, because energy is costly. Here, the Green Building movement has more of a marketing approach, which is good. Here, the power capacity is lacking, and that has forced the Government to think. The cost of investment is high, and so is the cost involved in producing energy. This has motivated the Government to encourage low power consumption. There are areas for improvement. We see buildings with glass façade and a lack of sun protection.
What is the country’s strategy for doing business in the UAE?
We believe in building awareness among consultants. Of course, we are here to sell the product, but we want them to be convinced that the product will make a difference to the building.
Then, there is the lobbying aspect. There was a lack of knowledge on fire safety and IAQ. We have succeeded in building awareness. We have participated in the UAE Fire Code, which is a great achievement. In July 2011, the Dubai Civil Defence created a fire code.
What opportunities do you see in the region?
We see plenty of potential in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, so these countries are part of our strategy. For 2012, our priority areas would be Qatar and Saudi Arabia. We have been doing business in Qatar for three to four years. We have to find the right partner there to establish a base. We realise the need for a local connection to be in contention for Government projects.
In Saudi Arabia, we have identified a good partner. The market is really pulling there. It is better structured and more controlled. In Jeddah, there is a master plan. I believe Jeddah is taking steps to develop its infrastructure first. There is huge government spending, because there is a shortage of Government offices, schools and hospitals.
What is Aldes’ overall approach to doing business?
In business, we have to face different clients. The customers in China are different from those in the US, so marketing analysis is part of our approach to doing business.