Jotun Paints, which claims 40 per cent of the market in the UAE, has commissioned its new Dh70 million plant in the Al Quoz Industrial Area here.

The capacity of 60 million litres annually will come in handy for Jotun given the sustained momentum the UAE's construction and allied sectors have had over the recent past, and which is expected to continue through the rest of this decade, according to top officials with the company.

Jotun's existing plant - which commenced operations in 1975 and has a capacity of 35 million litres annually - in Dubai's Rashidiya area will now cease to operate.

Jotun intends to sell off that plant by the latter half of the year. But the old machinery will be retained by the company, said an official.

"The new investments go hand in hand with Dubai's planned development in the next few years," said Erik Aaberg, managing director of Jotun UAE Ltd.

"We see the new capacities as essentially required for the demand coming in from within the UAE itself. The Al Quoz plant is also designed in such a way that further capacities may be raised if the need arises in future."

The production at this facility will be split into decorative, protective and marine paints.
The total area comprises 50,000 square metres, of which about 60 per cent represents the built up area for the factory and the office premises.

Apart from this facility, Jotun operates another paint factory in Abu Dhabi and a powder coating plant in Dubai.

In the Middle East, it has three facilities in Saudi Arabia and one each in Oman and Egypt, which together with the UAE capacities, raise the overall number to around 150 million litres annually.

On whether Jotun will consider additional investments in the Abu Dhabi plant, Aaberg said: "It is relatively new having been commissioned in 1995. We have been making fresh investments into it when required."

Of the total production from the UAE facilities, exports make up between 20 and 30 per cent, said an official. These include Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan and Iran.

The paint market in the UAE has been recording strong double-digit growth in the last two or three years.

With most of the recent projects in Dubai still in their initial construction phase, there is every indication that these growth rates can be maintained well into the rest of the decade.