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Beginning his career at the age of 19 as a salesman with M.A.Almoayyed, the chairman of Dar Akhbar Al Khaleej Printing and Publishing, Abdulrahman established Al Hilal Corporation in 1973 and spearheaded the launch of Bahrain's first Arabic daily newspaper, Akhbar Al Khaleej in 1976 and the English-language daily, Gulf Daily News in 1978.

Says the chairman, "Al Hilal Group is a leading publishing house in the Middle East, publishing a range of newspapers and magazines including "Gulf Weekly", "Gulf Construction", "Oil & Gas News", "Travel & Tourism News", "Gulf Industry", "Middle East Interior" and "Arabian Knight" - the latter being a quarterly magazine aimed at high net worth individuals and top decision makers throughout the Arab World. Al Hilal also owns and operates TradeArabia.com, a leading business information portal in the Middle East. The company has offices in London, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Singapore and Hongkong."

Born in 1942, Abdulrahman is a student of literature, educated in Bahrain. He was a member of the board of Bahrain University's School of Literature from 1988 until March 2000. "In 1973, two other directors and myself founded Al Hilal Corporation as a company specialising in the distribution of imported newspapers and magazines. In 1987, the printing division of Dar Akhbar Al Khaleej Printing and Publishing House was established. The need to address the printing needs of advertising agencies and publishing companies in the region was felt, along with a commitment to maintaining international standards. Considerable investments in latest technologies and systems were made and today, we operate out of a 150,000 square feet manufacturing site in Sanad, Bahrain, employing 300 people.We have invested in complete infrasture to publish two daily newspapers and several regional magazines."

Fluent in 3 languages, Arabic, Persian and English, Abdulrahman is also Editor-in-Chief of Akhbar Al Khaleej since 2000, writing regular columns for both Akhbar Al Khaleej and the Gulf Daily News. He says, "I have seen print industry moving from letterpress to sophisticated offset litho to the present digital. Prepress has seen a sea change from photo colour separation to CTF's and now CTP's. Also, the market size in Bahrain is much smaller than elsewhere in the Middle East and there is scarcity of trained local manpower. Besides there is over capacity in the market, with too many print shops chasing the same number of orders. Some printers are offering unreasonable credit periods as well. The spillover of all this is the unhealthy price war we are witnessing. Presses can survive but the time of making good profit is now in the past."

Sharing insight about industry trends and the influx of digital and internet, Abdulrahman explains, "Though the advent of IT revolution is viewed negatively by printers, it is reasonable to expect a substantial growth in printing industry at least for one more decade. While on the digital front, when it comes to volumes and very high quality jobs with various finishing processes, digital printing is definitely a long way off. However for printing small quantities, variable coding, serializing, individualizing etc., digital is the solution."

Dar Akhbar Al Khaleej Printing has won numerous awards including the Sappi award, Ifra "Best in Print" gold award at the Asia Media awards and various awards at the Dubai International Print Award.

Defining success, Abdulrahman says, "Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. Five years down the line, we hope to double the present turn over. We also plan to do forward integration, produce print products thus adding value and revenue streams."

Conceding that retaining employees is a challenge, the chairman adds, "Local employees always look for greener grass on the other side, while the expatriates tend to return home, once the economic conditions in their home countries improve."Walking down memory lane, Abdulrahman recounts the most memorable moment in his career, 'as the day when our own newspapers began to come out of our own printing press'.

Hoping other printers benefit from his experience, the chairman concludes saying, "My advise to other printers is, control expenses, reduce non essential investments in equipments, while increasing the portfolio of products and expanding geographical reach."