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Tremco Illbruck has high hopes for Middle East growth

After breaking away as an independent company last year, Tremco Illbruck is determined to make its mark in the Middle East market with plans to significantly expand business, launch new products, and boost local manufacturing over the coming years

With a well established network of distributors, agents and direct customers in the GCC, Tremco Illbruck, which specialises in sealants and building protection, plans to manufacture far more its products in the region.

Speaking to Technical Review, Stuart Wakeham, Tremco Illbruck sales director for Middle East, Africa and India, said, "Tremco Illbruck has a turnover of EU?12mn (US$16.5mn), but we?re looking to grow quite aggressively over the next two to three years."

He added, "Manufacturing will be the key growth area for us."

With just one manufacturing base in Egypt, the company must rely on shipments from Europe and North America for the vast majority of its products, which takes its toll on delivery times.

"The more we can manufacture locally the better. I can have the one product we have made here [in the Middle East] in three days, but if I bring it from Canada it takes seven weeks so it?s a no-brainer," he added.

According to Wakeham, in order to achieve this the company is looking to possibly form a strategic partnership with a manufacturing company currently based here. Also, as part of the US RPM brand, Tremco Illbruck has the advantage of potential links with various sister companies that already have manufacturing facilities in the MENA region.

Further growth is also expected from June this year when Tremco Illbruck will fully incorporate the fire protection company Nullifire into the Middle East business.

With the addition of Nullifire, Tremco Illbruck?s product offer will grow considerably because as well as a wide range of fire stopping solutions it also specialises in structural fire protection, which is something there is a growing demand for in the GCC.

"With the predominance of structural steel buildings becoming more and more popular this is an area where we feel there is tremendous growth potential," said Wakeham.

In order to support this growth and increase its regional presence, Tremco Illbruck plans to take on more employees and will begin the process of opening an office in Mumbai, India this summer.

"We?d like to double the business really in two to three years," claimed Wakeham.

In addition to all of this the chemical company has proudly announced that it has produced a new range of hybrid compound sealants, SP523, which it claims is eco-friendly and specifically formulated for the Middle East region.

Produced in-house in its factory in Canada, the cure-rate of the product was slowed down considerably in order to tackle the challenge of the region?s high temperature and humidity. The hybrid formulation is also completely free of isocyanides and solvents.

"Replacing them [harmful chemicals] with less environmentally damaging materials is our desire but trying to get the material to then work is the hard bit, so this hybrid technology is a bit of a breakthrough," explained Wakeham.

This new attitude and focus on expanding business in the Middle East comes after Tremco Illbruck established itself as its own independent company last year, emerging out from under the management of the US? Tremco Inc.

"We are now an independent company," said Wakeham. "We can now sell our products anywhere in the world, which is the most significant change for us in many years, because geographically we?re not restricted."

In line with this change, Wakeham said that he recently took on responsibility for business development in India and Africa, and has colleagues who are looking to the Far East and the Americas.

Talking to the sales director he is obviously excited not only by the plans for business growth but also by the infrastructure projects they will have the opportunity to work on in the region, particularly considering the upcoming Expo2020 and 2022 FIFA World Cup.

"Some of the construction coming up here, especially in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, has some fantastic, unbelievable looking buildings," he claimed.

Tremco Illbruck is currently involved in the production of the Lusail Multipurpose Hall ? an Olympic hall suitable for handball, basketball as well as volley ball currently underway in Qatar ? described by Wakeham as "the most incredible looking structure".

With the plan to manufacture more locally, the move into structural fire protection, as well as the new products and addition of more employees, it is safe to say that Tremco Illbruck is determined to establish itself in the Middle East as a key player in its sector.