Staying True to Colour
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Jake Megeary
Al Gurg Paints is gearing up for the most challenging yet exciting phase of its development to date as it looks to diversify the business model which has brought it so much success historically, with the significance of Expo 2020 looming large.
The longstanding, prominent arm of EASA Saleh Al Gurg Group has made its name in the UAE and surrounding GCC region through its affiliation with Leigh’s Paints originally, and later the Dulux brand; becoming synonymous in providing niche services to the construction and oil & gas sectors.
However, in a more recent acknowledgement of the need to diversify its operations, the introduction of its own Oasis paint brand has represented a positive evolution in the story of Al Gurg as it looks to take firmer control of its own future ventures.
“The concept of Oasis comes from our stability and freedom, under our ownership, to now choose and decide where we would like to focus, how we want to focus, and with what technologies to introduce,” explains the Company’s General Manager, Sunil Gudur. “Many of the big names now want to get away from the licensing model and become far more active in marketing their own brands, so we have to make sure that we don’t miss out because of this and become a passive partner.
“This is why we made the decision to develop our own brand and can really concentrate our resources and efforts on Oasis moving forward.”
This strategy becomes even more prevalent with Expo 2020 on the horizon; an event which is set to induce a multitude of construction and engineering activity requiring specialty paint coatings, while giving the likes of Al Gurg Paint a readymade stage on which to showcase its capabilities.
“We can be fairly bullish looking to the future, with Expo 2020 expected to bring 150 countries to Dubai over the course of six months, and a huge amount of infrastructure needed to cater for that,” Gudur continues. “This is a fabulous opportunity for us to get our entire act together in terms of handling our own products, producing our distribution network and getting involved in marketing activities now, so that by mid-2017 and beyond, we are seen as a ready and reputed supplier and vendor to cater for the market’s needs.”
While the next four-five years promises to be one of the most pivotal periods in Al Gurg Paints’ development, this is certainly not to say that the evolution leading to this point hasn’t been equally integral, as the business firmly established itself as one of the Group’s most prized assets in the manufacturing vertical all under the guidance of Chairman, H.E. Easa Saleh Al Gurg CBE.
As one of very few men to have been honoured by the Queen of England, the Chairman’s unparalleled experience and proactivity in progressing each of his brands went a long way in attracting the likes of Leigh’s and Dulux in the first place; setting the premise for Al Gurg Paints’ early successes as a licensee, catering especially for mass segments.
Gudur says: “All in all, the paint market in the UAE is not too huge, and the population of the country is largely expatriates, so from a decorative perspective, the demand is usually tailored for the grand and glitz of the megaprojects that Dubai and Abu Dhabi are so famous for.
“Alongside this, our other big segment is oil & gas which has been driving the economy here for a long time. So what’s happened is that our volumes come from the decorative paint market and the megaprojects, and our value comes from our ability to carry out specialty coatings in the oil & gas sector.”
Subsequently becoming renowned across both the decorative and protective coating domains, Al Gurg Paints has offset its relatively small size as an overall business through the reputation it has attained by providing quality products resulting in performance par excellence. Hand-in-hand, this success has then been continuously reinvested into upgrading machineries, technologies and capacities to further cement its position as a key market operator.
“We have never been a very big player in terms of numbers but have always been recognised in terms of the brand and the quality we have been offering here for the past two decades,” Gudur adds.
Wisdom and modernism
Complementing Al Gurg Paints’ product expansion and enhanced internal control in the future is an equally important commitment to broadening its footprint as it looks to once again add flexibility and diversity to its production and distribution network.
The Company’s Oasis brand currently reaches 17 countries on the African continent, while much of Central Asia and the surrounding GCC countries are also natural areas of progression as the business continues to construct its independent legacy.
Such entrepreneurial flair and speed of decisions derives ultimately from its business and ownership structure though; an aspect which anyone who works within the Al Gurg Group would identify as the key differentiator.
“When it comes to expansion, all financing is carried out in-house, and in everything we do, we can generate these decisions and funds without wasting time looking to outside assistance,” Gudur states. “As a result, we have become well-known for good quality and we deliver what we promise.
“Our motto is that we ‘stay true to colour’, both in terms of integrity and in terms of our commitment to delivery of our paint products.”
At an age when most patriarchs’ focus would only be on passing down the rich wisdom and experience accumulated, the Chairman still takes it upon himself to oversee the daily reports of all 18 companies within the Group; a testament to the consistency and stability that has been achieved through three generations of family management.
It is the balance between long-term stability, and the never-to-be-underestimated modernism within the business’s processes and systems that have formed a potent combination set to strike while the iron is hot over the next four years and beyond.
Gudur concludes: “I feel incredibly lucky that I’m involved in this Group because, in spite of the father, daughter and the grandson driving the Group, if at any time the Chairman or any family member needs an opinion, the respective business head and core team are invited to offer their opinions on what is best for each entity.
“With the Chairman continuing to tutor the shareholders and the workforce, brand Oasis will continue embracing all the newest trends and technologies to form a perfect balance of wisdom and modernism.”