SIG Combibloc Obeikan: Joint venture enjoys continued growth
A decade of success in the Middle East
In 2001, SIG Combibloc and the Obeikan Group entered into a joint venture to market aseptic carton packs and the filling machines for long-life beverages and food such as juices and milk. The joint venture's head office is in Dubai and has been charting successes in the strong-growth markets of the Middle East ever since it was founded. The market comprises all of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar), the Levant region, Africa and South Asia.
SIG Combibloc Obeikan FZCO, which is responsible for sales, service and marketing within the joint venture, is based in the Dubai Airport Free Trade Zone. SIG Combibloc Obeikan Company Ltd., responsible for production of the packaging materials, is located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The joint venture currently looks after 70 countries. It has sales and service offices in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Cairo (Egypt), Tunis (Tunisia), Casablanca (Morocco), Tripoli (Libya), Tehran (Iran) and Istanbul (Turkey). In 2010, these were joined by branches in Cape Town (South Africa) and Lagos (Nigeria). SIG Combibloc Obeikan opened an additional branch in Algiers (Algeria) in February 2011.
Says Norbert Hoffmann, Managing Director of SIG Combibloc Obeikan in Dubai: "It is marvellous to be part of a big family with more then 360 employees from a variety of countries. In our day-to-day activities, we have to adapt to differing cultures, mentalities, religions, time zones and weekends - a real challenge but a very good experience at the same time. The common challenge, and the common goal for all SIG Combibloc Obeikan employees is to become the preferred supplier of aseptic carton packaging and filling machines in the region, and to excel by providing rapid, professional and reliable service".
Closer to the market, quicker to the customer
A particular decisive step for the joint venture was the start of its cooperation with food manufacturer Almarai in 2005. For this company, the largest producer and exporter of milk and milk products in the Middle East, SIG Combibloc Obeikan provided complete filling and downstream solutions for a newly established production facility in Riyadh. The project comprised a total of eight filling machines from SIG Combibloc. The flexibility offered by the new filling machines enabled the entire range of the company's milk and juice products to be re-launched in various packaging formats from SIG Combibloc. In the meantime, ten SIG Combibloc filling machines are in operation for Almarai, some allowing an output of 24,000 packs per hour.
To expand the regional business relationships still further, a production plant in Riyadh came into operation in November 2005. More than six million packaging sleeves are now produced there every day. The screw cap combiSwift has also been produced in Riyadh since 2009, with daily output of about a million units. Plans are already in place to further expand this capacity. "For us, a successful business strategy principally means being there for the customer," says Abdallah Obeikan, CEO of SIG Combibloc Obeikan. "By having a presence on the spot in the Middle East and Africa, SIG Combibloc Obeikan is close to its customers. Personal and direct contact is an important precondition for successful cooperation."
Very promising outlook
At the outset, in 2001, there were a total of 29 SIG Combibloc filling machines in use in the region; this figure has grown in the meantime to 110. The outlook for further growth in the markets of the Middle East and Africa is very promising: more and more customers are putting their trust in SIG Combibloc's flexible filling technology. Thus, Juhayna, Egypt's leading manufacturer of juices and milk products, installed a CFA 124 high-speed filling machine in 2009 to aseptically fill products into combiblocMini. This was the first high-speed filling machine in the region, operating at a rate of 24,000 packs per hour. In 2010, SIG Combibloc Obeikan made an important advance into the South African market with its customer DairyBelle, South Africa's oldest and most well known dairy cooperative. SIG Combibloc is consolidating its position in Africa further with Nigerian food manufacturer Dansa.
The new product concept drinksplus is also meeting with major approval in the region: With drinksplus milk drinks and non-carbonated juices, smoothies and fruit juice drinks with up to ten per cent natural particulate content can be aseptically filled into carton packs using standard SIG Combibloc filling machines for liquid dairy and NCSD products. The first drinksplus products will be available on the market in the near future.
Obeikan Investment Group of Saudi Arabia and SIG Combibloc can look back on ten years of successful co-operation in their joint venture “SIG Combibloc Obeikan”, and are looking forward to a very promising future. The joint venture supplies aseptic carton packs and filling machines for long-life food for customers in the market area represented by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar), the Levant region, Africa and South Asia, Photo: SIG Combibloc
SIG Combibloc Group Ltd.
SIG Combibloc is one of the world's leading system suppliers of carton packaging and filling machines for beverages and food. In 2010 the company achieved a turnover of 1,360 million Euro with around 4,650 employees in 40 countries. SIG Combibloc is part of the New Zealand based Rank Group.