Peddinghaus Corporation, manufacturer of structural steel machines, said the company's sales in the region has increased by almost 14 per cent during 2008.
The US-based manufacturer, which has been operating in the region for more than 25 years, said its turnover for 2008 touched $300 million (Dh1.1 billion) with almost 20 per cent of its sales coming from the Middle East. The company has an office in Abu Dhabi.
Lyle Menke, Peddinghaus's Vice-President of Marketing, during the recently concluded Steelfab exhibition in Sharjah, told Emirates Business that the GCC would be the first region to recover from the impact of the global downturn.
"From my discussion with various people from the industry here, I have gathered some insights about the effects on the local market. Being an integral part of the global economy, the industry here has definitely been hit. But the key question is about how long it would last? Most industry people are of the opinion that it could only last a couple of months. Things should improve in the second quarter of 2009," said Menke.
The company's performance all along, he said, has been very strong. "We had a record year in 2008. The growth percentage has been quite good. We grew at about five per cent in 2006 and it increased to about seven per cent in 2007 and by around 14 per cent in 2008. About 50 per cent of what is manufactured in shipped outside the United States. Our annual turnover has been around $280m to $300m," said Menke.
"We manufacture steel for structural steel fabrication for profiles, building construction bridges etc, and are one of the first few companies to get involved in the steel construction market here. We started with machines and made transmission towers for utilities and then became more involved in supplying our equipment for steel buildings. We are really able to grow and sustain our business here and the strength of our business is with our local distributors," he added.
According to him, the use of steel in the construction industry has been growing over years.
"Locally, we know that concrete is more commonly used for residential buildings here. However, steel is used more for commercial construction. There have been some excellent designs by architects for steel and glass structures," said Menke.
The growth of petro-chemical business, he said, was very important for steel fabricators. "There is much support for petro-chemical plants. Much steel is used in desalination plants in the ports and there is much scope for structural steel n the region," he added.
He said the region has been giving the company business worth $30m, contributing to almost 15 to 20 per cent of the business.
"We are also expecting several orders from this year's show. Although the number of visitors this year has reduced compared to last year, there has not been any compromise on the quality as many visitors are still talking about buying machines and doing business," said Menke.
One of the orders during the show, he said, was from visitors from Argentina. "They came here just to attend the show and also purchased our machines."
The company has developed new drilling technology with its fully functional BDL 1250/9 structural drill line. This machine according to him has proven to be the cornerstone of production for progressive fabricators in the Region. Another new product is the Speed Sawing Technology with the dynamic DGP 1270 miter band saw with 17kw (20 hp) motor and miter capacity up to 60 degrees right and left.
"Our three latest structural steel machines will increase productivity by almost 25 per cent," he added.
The company has no immediate plans of setting up other offices in the region. "We are just concentrating to grow our office in Abu Dhabi. For the past several years, Peddinghaus has maintained local customer service technicians and parts availability in the Region. This has been very instrumental to our growth in the entire Middle East," said Menke.