November 29, 2017 / 11:20 AM / 17 days ago

UAE’s RAK Ceramics plans capacity expansion in India: CEO

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - RAK Ceramics plans to build a third plant in India to almost double its production capacity there next year, the UAE-based company’s chief executive told Reuters.

“Our target in India is to have 20 million square meters of capacity by 2018. We are bullish on growing our capacity and increasing our market share in a fast-growing economy,” Chief Executive Abdallah Massad said in an interview.

Plans to set up a greenfield plant in the western Indian state of Gujarat are at an advanced stage, Massad said.

RAK’s two existing facilities in India have a combined capacity of 11 million square meters of tile.

Among the world’s top five producers of ceramic tile, RAK has been pulling out of businesses such as real estate, construction, warehousing and leasing to free up resources for growth in its core business.

The Abu Dhabi-listed firm makes 110 million square meters of tile annually as well as 5 million pieces of sanitary ware. It has facilities in the UAE, India, Bangladesh and Iran.

It reported revenue of 2.11 billion dirhams ($575 million) for the first nine months of 2017, a fall of 1 percent.

A slowdown in construction in the UAE and the Gulf due to government austerity measures had not affected the company, Massad said, noting RAK exports about 70 percent of its UAE output to 150 countries.

Revenues at RAK Ceramics Bangladesh have been rising at a rate of 35 percent this year, he said, adding that RAK planned to expand in line with market growth there.

A plant in China that was shut down two years ago will be sold once a buyer is found, Massad said, without elaborating.

Editing by Andrew Torchia and Jason Neely

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