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Features

Success: Talk of print anywhere in the region; our name will invariably pop up

A Having been through the crisis situation of excess capacity and unhealthy competition in Europe and UK, Gohil, who migrated from Uganda to UK at the age of 12 years, was leading from the front when UAE faced a similar situation between 2009-2010.

"Anticipating the local competition crisis in the regional print industry, we expanded into newer markets and increased our product offerings. Variable data, security printing, ballot papers, diaries, braille printing, exports into Africa, Afghanistan, Europe and America saw us sail through the recession with good profits. In fact 2009 was probably one of our best years," the print veteran elaborated on the strategy Al Ghurair Printing press adopted under him.

An aeronautical

I was peon-cum-MD for 2 years when we initially started Marina Designers

Reminiscing about the days when his first company was established, chairman and MD of Marina Holdings, Rajesh Pillai says, "I worked 18 hours a day in those initial days, and achieved my yearly target in 6 months. My first company was Marina Designers, today I own 10 companies, all under the umbrella of Marina Holdings, a British Virgin Islands company. We were a one-man organisation in those days, where I was the MD and I was the peon."

With no print qualifications, Pillai has entered the

Stick to basics, reduce wasteage and overheads, don't work below cost

Priding herself as a printer who thinks like a designer, Tess Abraham, managing director of the IMPZ based Dubai company, Print Central says, "I was client director for FutureBrand, world's second largest brand management company and was involved with branding in the media and collaterals of big ticket clients like DAE, DPWorld, JAFZA, TAQA, etc where digital and offset printing collaterals of world class quality had to be delivered. The creativity and finesse of the products requires deep

Saudi market is stable and domestic demand ensures growth in all directions

"Saudi market is bigger size-wise, constitutes about 50% of the entire region, is growing in all directions and is much more stable," says Bandar Al Khorayef, council member and president in the 2 billion Saudi riyal-turnover family-owned group, Al Khorayef.

Founded by the late Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Khorayef in 1957, the company diversified its activities in various fields, machinery systems, oil, contracting and printing and paper.

"I studied agriculture and economics, since our family

Consistency, speed and quality is what clients require from their printing jobs.

"The one thing I fear is the digital media making inroads into the outdoor and exhibition signage market," says Tarun Prakash, managing director of Multigraphics Production FZ LLC. "Earlier displays were always prints, nowadays with the LCDs, LEDs and plasmas, electronic media is becoming a big threat. Except for roadside advertising where it can be a traffic hazard, in malls like Mall of the Emirates for example, I have seen most of the posters being replaced with LCD

We will never compromise on quality or raw materials

Two new kids (printing presses) on the block with deep pockets, have been investing in heavy machinery, poaching staff and paying them high salaries and selling at very low prices, I ask them what benefit do they bring to the industry or even the country by these unprofessional decisions," asks Al Shirawi. The CEO uses the platform provided by PrintWeek MEA to send out a strong message to regional printers following bad business policies.

"These two print houses, which have come into existence

Whether recession or boom, prices are going down & margins are shrinking

Karim PH Saad, managing director, PrintWorks-Mediatech hands out samples of his printed work in answer to my question, what sets a printer apart?...."Our knowledge of colour management is what differentiates us from competition," he emphasises. "Printers in the region have similar machines, but our knowledge of and focus on colour management determines the quality of our job."

An accidental printer, Saad majored in communication and film making from St. Josephs University in

I will not rest until we become one of the largest signage company in the ME

Ex-government employee and currently a large format outdoor signage printer, Laith Al Taei strikes an optimistic note saying, "One or two years of slowdown has dampened the spirits across but yes the industry will gradually pick and rise to higher levels of activity. I always tell fellow printers to hold fort for some more time, things will definitely get better. But people must take care and not compromise on quality or they will stand the risk of getting labeled as substandard."

Abu Dhabi

The internet can never replace the look and feel of a printed publication

A youthful, AWI Printing started operations in 2003, from Beirut in Lebanon, with 50 employees and six years down the line has expanded into Syria and Kuwait, with current staff strength of 225 people.

Graduating in business administration from Haigazian University in Beirut, AWI’s managing director, Elie Mrad set up his first prepress and graphics art house in 1992.    “The shift from CTF to CTP forced print houses to have their own prepress departments

We are not mere suppliers to clients, we aim to becoming their consultants

Bench-mates from school days and childhood friends, Vadal Kumar and Rajesh Kumar are now equal partners in outdoor print company, Media Innovations, a free-zone organisation set up in International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), Dubai in December 2007.

"We moved into IMPZ from the day it was operational, in fact, even before it was operational, by that I mean even before the water and electricity connections were ready. The authorities however supported us with generators. We have seen the

Profitability of companies will surely improve if sales collection is good

A keen athlete Yasser Alkuwari joined Union Press, a family-owned business, in 1987.  Right at the onset of his career he faced a power struggle between several groups within the company, which resulted in dissatisfied clients and delays in delivery schedules.

“The infighting forced our then production manager to leave the company and I took over.  We took a hands-on approach and identified bottlenecks in the production process.  These were dealt with individually

Downsizing during global recession is necessary evil says MD of Gulf Printing

Breaking the shackles of conventional printing, US-educated Hassan Dakroub, managing director of Gulf Printing Press has expanded into book binding, selling of second hand machines and starting a gifts and promotions company. "Though we are commercial printers, we want to be known as a one-stop shop in the printing industry," says Dakroub. "Interestingly, Gulf Printing was started by my father in Abu Dhabi as a trading company for paper and consumables with 3-4 employees. We still own this

We have been enjoying a 10% year on year growth since the last 15 years

An ardent follower of Sri Sri Ravishankar, Sandeep Bhatia is unfazed by the slowdown.  While small and large units around him are closing shop, Bhatia already fully booked for the next three months, is actually expanding operations by buying more machines, warehouse space and recruiting staff.

A reluctant entrant into the printing industry, Bhatia is an electronics engineer by qualification.  “ I hated printing when I joined my college in Mumbai.  My father wanted me

Commitment and providing value to customers drives Al Ardhi Neon in KSA

"I am a mature man," says Mohammed Ardhi, managing director of Saudi Arabia based Al Ardhi Neon. "My years of experience has taught me that it is better to leave your children with the means of creating wealth, than merely leave them money as inheritance. This prompted my decision in gifting my daughter with a printing company, whose USP is that; it will be completely run by women. This is woman power."

US educated, Ardhi has a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and a masters degree

From a one-man show to one with hundreds of men, Raidy is moving up

My childhood memories are full of happy hours spent at the printing press located in the same building in which we lived in downtown Beirut.  I would invent games to play with the shredded paper or use trolleys as skateboards,” says Raidy Emirates Printing Group managing director, Doumit Raidy.

“I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and went on to do my masters in printing and publishing production from the

We wanted to benchmark knowledge and skills in this global environment

Costing, production, customer management. A printer should closely monitor all facets of his business to consolidate his position in the market, says Ashok Nerker, owner of Sharjah-based Gulf Scan. "Our Sharjah unit is doing well," says Nerker "with a noticeable improvement on a number of fronts. The economy is growing again, prices have recovered, credit has improved, and corporate confidence has increased. Print activity has increased by 10% year-on-year. However, one has to be cautious

A passion for people and a good sense for business keeps press owner on top

A heap of entrepreneurial spirit stirred with a splash of good business sense was what brought CK Mukundan’s recipe for print to the table.

Born in Kerala, Mukundan moved to Dubai in 1978 after graduating in Mumbai to look “for new opportunities”.

He says: “My first job was at a company called GKN Al Gurg. I started as a store keeper and eventually moved up to a sales executive position in the stationery division.  After having learnt what I could, I left the

Muscat Printing Press declares year on year growth, upbeat about the future

Rajan Pillai is in an enviable position today. While stories of doom and gloom float around him, he proudly reveals a 30% growth in the last 12 months saying: "Recession has not affected the bigger, well managed printing presses in Oman, and we, at Muscat Printing Press are talking of growth and expansion."

Born and brought up in the financial capital of India, Mumbai, Pillai has been a printer for most part of his life. After graduating from RYK College of Science, in Nashik, Pillai did a

Veteran sportsman still going the distance in building a career in print

A keen athlete with no qualifications in print, managing director of the Abu Dhabi-based Al Omeira Printing and Publishing, Mohammad Ghos Khawaja admits he ran a long way to get to where is in print today.

As a student, Khawaja ran in several sports events up until state level and almost reached national level when he first left India.

Having left his family in India during his adolescence, it was “sheer determination” that led him to finishing a Bsc while also going on to build

Printers have to grow horizontally in Lebanon because market is saturated

A printer who operates his machines himself, Richard Nasraoui, owner of Modern Printing Press in Lebanon is 'happily married to his machines'. "The market in Lebanon is saturated, offset is saturated, so the only way to expand in such circumstances is to grow horizontally and add diversified solutions," explains Nasraoui. "In Lebanon, a printer cannot open another printshop or heavily invest in huge machinery, because where are the orders going to come from in a country with 3 million

‘Building an empire is less about work and more about a passion for print’

Global citizen and managing director of Dubai-based Spectrum Digital Solutions, Ramzi Razian has spent most of his life observing different nationalities. Now he spends his time observing his presses and counting the number of print runs.But before heading up Spectrum, Razian worked across various sectors - from the construction business to sales and marketing to being an environmental consultant.

“I have been in the UAE for 27 years so the UAE has become home,” he says. But I

Lack of technologically qualified staff is the challenge facing the industry

Owner and general manager of one of the oldest commercial printing presses in Fujairah and UAE, Sultan Al Kaabi proudly talks of his father starting the Fujairah National Printing Press way back in 1981 with less than 10 employees and working very hard to bring up the press to the position it holds today. "This company is 100% private ownership firm and after graduating from business school in Al Ain, I joined the family business in 2001, initially as finance manager of the group. Even before

Self-taught printer says raising the bar is the best way to get on the map

Managing director of Promotech, Nabih Fakhry talks about his transformation from physiotherapist to printer

With no experience in print, everything that Dubai-based Promotech’s managing director Nabih Fakhry learnt,  was self-taught.

HIGHLIGHTS
● Has a MBA in International Business and Marketing
● Relocated to Dubai in 2002
● Joined Promotech in 2002

A qualified physiotherapist, the Lebanese-born Fakhry, now runs the

Our printshop is like a showroom says vehicle graphics specialist, Nabeel Ali

Father of five, Jordanian national, Nabeel Ali gainedvast experience on all aspects of printing before starting his own company, Color Mix in Dubai.

"I graduated in industrial engineering in 1993. My first job was with the National Paints factory in Jordan. My engineering background gave me technical advantage and my job experience gave me managerial skills, such that today I am able to repair my machines myself and start new companies and guide staff and employees through good and bad times

‘Print quality will pave the way for ME printers to match global competition’

Design, colour and presentation.
These were the three words that led IMC advertising chief executive Nizamodin Can to a successful career in the print industry.

With a bachelors degree in Arts from a university in India and a keen interest in technology, Can – who is originally from Verna in Goa in south-west India – was first involved in mechanical automative engineering.

“My family has been involved in mechanical automative engineering for generations so you could say

We must be the only printing company that was started in recession times.

An award-winning wrestler opening a print shop? Sounds far-fetched? Well, Haris Kauth, managing director of Master Printing Press in Dubai has done just that.

A keen sports enthusiast with no experience in print, Kauth is a self taught and an accidental printer."My very first job was radio officer with ONGC in India," reminisces Kauth. "I worked there for 2 years, quit and came to Dubai to expand my horizons. I started out in a secretarial position on a miniscule salary of AED 2,000. My next