Prashant Chaurasia in conversation with Nadim Elias, CEO of Sahara Printing Company & chairman of Elias Modern Publishing House in Egypt, shares his far sighted rear mirror view for vibrant Egyptian publishing, backing innovation as the way to move fast forward
Born in 1951 Egypt, Nadim Elias belongs to a family having a long traditional publishing and printing heritage. Nadim is the grandson of Elias Antoun Elias, author of the famous Elias Modern Dictionary and founder of Elias Modern Press (1913). He graduated with honours from the American University in Cairo with a B.Sc. in Materials Engineering in 1976.
After finishing his military service, Nadim worked at Arab World Printing House where he started as a junior engineer and
Graeme Selby, general manager of Mazoon Printing Publishing & Advertising, Oman shares with Prashant Chaurasia his extensive experience in Middle East region with dynamic trends, evolving technologies and the relative policies.
During the particularly tough economic times in UK and Europe in the 70’s, there were lots of industry strikes and discontent in the workplace. I remember once during a visit to a friend’s father’s printshop in Nottingham, I had liked the look and feel of
Printers can reap the benefits of a healthier print arena, were they need to unite under an association like the Printing and Publishing Group (PPG). Undercutting will lead to unhealthy competition between the presses within the industry," explains the executive director of the family owned Asiatic Printing Press, Vipin Ramachandran.
A mechanical engineer by qualification, Ramachandran joined his father and brother S J Nair, who established the Asiatic Printing Press. The family-owned business
Elie Raphael of Arab Printing Press talks to Shilpa Jasani about the challenges facing the printing industry in Lebanon, while dreaming of expanding his business into other Middle Eastern and African countries.
One of the most memorable moments in my career is when APP won an order to print textbooks for the Ministry of Education in Iraq for $11 million," says Stanford-educated chairman and general manager of Arab Printing Press, Elie Raphael.
Armed with a bachelors degree in industrial
" I am a workaholic, having started my career when I was 14 years old," says industry stalwart, Ajay Goenka, chairman and managing director of Rainbow Papers. "I joined my father and the family business as paper distributors, and was able to contribute to expanding our business, increasing the turnover from 50 tonnes per month to 1000 tonnes per month."
After gaining experience as paper trader and distributor, Goenka turned his attention to manufacturing, establishing a small company Rainbow
Chairman of Al Fajr group, Obaid Humaid Al Mazrooei walks through memory lane, recounting how the first copy of his newspaper Dar Al Fajr printed at his press was a 'dream come true'
The UAE is a different market, there are 6 million foreigners. The print industry here is much more exposed to technology, knowhow comes in from all corners of the world giving us an added advantage in the region. Our leaders have long term vision. Personally I have gained from the close interaction with them, I
"I speak Arabic fluently," says Jacob Kannath, owner and director of Al Jazeera Printing Press. "Since I interact with locals, speaking their language puts them at ease and helps our business deals."
A workoholic, Kannath works 12 hours daily from 7.30 in the morning. Kannath graduated in 1976 from Calicut University started his career in a premier public sector bank in India before migrating to Qatar. "The banking experience stands me in good stead in my business since I can understand the
"I come from a village named Harissa, which has 6000 residents and 28 printing presses," laughs Georges Chemaly, general manager of Chemaly and Chemaly Printing Press in Lebanon. "We are first generation printers, and we have sub-divided our print operations among my three brothers and myself, according to our field of specialisation. So, while one of my brothers looks after pre-press operations, another takes care of production, printing, finishing etc while I am the general manager and
A keen sports enthusiast, who majored in sports science, Al-Mohannadi started his career teaching at university, and graduating to becoming the editor-in-chief of a sports magazine.
"I did my bachelor's on Doha, masters in the US and Ph.D in London. In 2005, while working as the editor of a sports magazine we faced a lot of problems, quality and delivery schedule wise. We were publishing an Arabic newspaper and in 2006, started the first weekly English newspaper in Doha. Since we were
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"
"The biggest challenges facing the screen printing industry today," says Mistry, "is to inspire manual screen printers to go for automation since in India itself there several thousand screen printers. While even agriculture or a household kitchen has automatic systems, why should our screen printing industry not go for automation? Why they should pull the squeegee with straining muscles, and besides it delivers poor quality and low productivity. Another challenge is to remove the poor image
My father worked in security printing for 40 years, starting his career with Thomas de la Rue in Burma, one of the largest currency printers in the world, which in hindsight may have sparked my interest in the field," explains Vijay Menon, the general manager of Khalifa Juma Al Nabooda Group owned Dubai Printing Press. "I too started my career in 1973 in a security printing press in Nashik, India operated by the Government of India. When I joined, it was the only press in India doing security
In 1990, we printed a round back hard bound coffee table book on a50x70 2col Heidelberg machine by sewing on a manual handfed stitching machine and casing in the book manually. The result could be compared to any book produced on a fully auto line. That became a turning point of the company," recalls Boxwala, owner and partner of the Ajman based print house, Rashid Printers and Stationers.
An economics and statistics graduate from Madras Christian College in Chennai, India, Boxwala arrived in
We were the first printers in the region to invest in Heidelberg's CD machine," says Babukutty. "We have always bought machinery only when we are sure that the investment is justified. Our growth and investment has been slow but steady."
T S Babukutty, general manager of Al Mawrid Printing and Advertising has held the position since 1985, when the print shop was a small start-up unit employing 15 people. "My first job was in India and later I migrated to Nigeria to take up a teaching post. I
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
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi told me 'We are proud of you, my son', that is the most memorable moment in my life," recalls Ali Saif Al Neaimi, CEO of United Printing and Publishing.
These words of encouragement were spoken by the Crown Prince when he found out that UPP had employed 11 local ex-lawbreakers, accused of petty crimes, after training them at their premises, while larger organisations volunteered to take in 1 each.
Studying management and finance from the Higher College of
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
Oriental Printing Press celebrates its 60th anniversary this year," says Majeed Al Zeera, president of Oriental Printing Press. "My father Issa Al Zeera and his partner K.A. George started the business in 1952 with two hand-fed letterpress platen machines, some composing racks, manual binding, wire stitching, guillotine in Central Manama. The idea to start a printing shop came when they went to one of the two printing companies in Bahrain to print some stationery and saw a notice on the
"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
"Success to me," says Azim M Somji, group managing director of Tanzania based MM Group, "has been offering the right price, unmatched quality and catering to every demand to please and satisfy our clients. Being in the right place at the right time is also very important."
Established on 14th November, 1999, the MM Group has the outdoor signage company MM Signs and large format printing firm 2M Media under its banner, besides various other companies. Elaborates Somji, "My career started with
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
Among the largest distributors of acrylic in the Middle East, Blue Rhine operates out of 100,000 square metre space, from 5 locations within UAE.
Established in 1996, as a general trading company, Blue Rhine finally found its calling in outdoor signage and resellers of acrylic, POP and display stands, large format print, LED's, vinyl's, textiles etc, and more recently machinery including plotters, die cutters among others.
"We took a strategic decision to split our entire UAE operations
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."
The view that all printers should take, is not that so-and-so company is competing with us and taking away our share, rather all of us should present UAE as a printing hub. National goals should take precedence over personal goals, we should work together, cooperate and collaborate in getting orders from overseas markets," says the general manger of Masar Printing and Publishing. "Today, we are competing with developed markets in other parts of the world. Many companies unfortunately are