Akij Gr set to overtake RAK Ceramics to become country’s biggest tiles maker

http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=158293&date=2011-12-05

Akij Gr set to overtake RAK Ceramics to become country’s biggest tiles maker
Its Trisal plant to produce 7.0m sqm annually

Badrul Ahsan

Local conglomerate Akij Group is set to become the country’s largest tiles manufacturer, dethroning the UAE-based RAK Ceramics Ltd, which has dominated the market since 2000, a high official said.

The group has set up the new tiles manufacturing plant on 38 acres of land in Trisal under Mymensing district with a production capacity of 7.0 million square metres (SQM) yearly.

RAK, a joint venture of Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates, now controls as much as 60 per cent share of the country’s booming ceramic tiles and sanitaryware market, producing 6.0 million SQM of tiles every year.

Akij has invested Tk 2.0 billion in the tiles-making project, funded by a group of banks led by Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd.

Presently, a total of 13 companies of the country are producing around 18 million SQM yearly against the demand of 49 million SQM. Rest of the demand is met through import.

Bangladesh imports tiles mainly from China, France, Italy and some other countries depending on its quality and design.

“Following the increasing demand of tiles, both floor and wall type, in the local market, we have set up the plant,” a general manager of Akij Group told the FE preferring anonymity as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

President of Bangladesh Ceramic Wares Manufacturers Association (BCWMA), Iftekhar Uddin Farhad has hailed the initiative of the Akij Group.

“Such kind of initiative will leave a positive impact on the market, helping to meet the annual requirement while also reducing reliance on imports,” Mr Farhad said.

He urged big investors of the country to come to invest in the sector and said, “The sector still need huge investment to meet the growing demand and thus save a good amount of foreign currency.”

According to a recent study of BCWMA, the demand for such items has been increasing around 25 per cent for the last couple of years.

Akij Group is one of the biggest business conglomerates in Bangladesh. Founded by late Sheikh Akijuddin, the group started in humble way through jute trading business in 1940

With the passage of time, the group undertook new ventures and presently there are 15 industrial units under its umbrella like cigarettes, handmade cigarettes, printing and packaging, textiles, hand board, pharmaceuticals, leather processing and real-estate business.

It employs more than 32,000 people in various categories.

The group has plans for setting up a number of new projects soon in different sectors of the country. Some of them might happen in joint ventures. Akij Group is also involved in socio-cultural activities.

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