Partnership with Kuwait govt will continue: CEO

Karsten Pedersen, Group Vice President and CEO of Hempel Middle East-West. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat Karsten Pedersen, Group Vice President and CEO of Hempel Middle East-West. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: A modern Hempel paint factory will shortly open in Kuwait to replace its outdated plant, which was the first paint factory in the Gulf. Hempel-Kuwait partnered with the Al-Rashed family to bring the paint factory here in 1966, focused on marine coatings. It later forayed into decorative and protective paints. "The Kuwait market was the first to welcome our company in the Middle East. So in order to meet the demands from neighboring GCCs countries, we decided to establish a plant here in 1966," said Karsten Pedersen, Group Vice President and CEO of Hempel Middle East-West.

"We are now celebrating our golden jubilee, and we thank our loyal clients for placing their trust in us. After Hempel started in Kuwait, we broadened our reach to all locations in the region," Pedersen said. "Hempel, has been very proud to serve its clients. We are committed to continuing our partnership with the government of Kuwait. We have entered almost every sector, the oil sector being one of them. Hempel's operations are unaffected by regional instability," he added.

Hempel products have been improved considerably and it continues to innovate and cater to the needs of all countries. Today, Hempel is one of the most trusted brands, not just in the region but all over the world. It enjoys more than a 50 percent market share and the innovation continues. "Kuwait holds a special place in our hearts. It was our gateway to the Middle East market. After 50 years, Hempel Kuwait is stronger and more dedicated, with a leading position in the paint market," Pedersen said.

"Together we have been through a great deal, despite some negative turns in the history of Kuwait. We never stopped production in our factories, and all the credit goes to our dedicated employees, superior quality products and above all our loyal clientele. We managed to play a major role in Kuwait's reconstruction. I am extremely proud that all the stakeholders and everyone else is present here on this special occasion to be a part of our success story. This is a prelude to the opening of a new state-of-the-art factory in 2017," he noted.

Hempel Kuwait will open the 20,000 sq m factory in the first quarter of 2017, with a capacity of 19 million liters in two shifts compared to the current 13 million liters, which increases production capacity by 40 percent. The factory will have cooling facilities and will produce solvent-borne as well as water-borne products. Hempel is also installing a regenerative thermal oxidizer in the paint production unit that removes volatile organic compounds to prevent atmospheric pollution.

Hempel controls 60 percent of the marine coatings market, and 30 percent of the construction paint market. It is contributing to some major projects including the Jaber Hospital, Al-Sabah Housing Project, First Ring Road bridges, Jaber Cultural Center, Kuwait Towers and Kuwait National Petroleum Company's Clean Fuel Project.

Khaled Al-Rashed, Member of the Board of Director at Hempel Middle East-West, said, "We are proud today as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of establishing our first factory in Kuwait. Hempel succeeded in the past five decades in forging solid partnerships with all segments in the Kuwait society by producing high quality paints that have protected people's assets. Today, the company crowns its great success by announcing the opening of a new state-of-the-art factory in 2017. We are also honored to be a part of the largest medical complex in the region, the Jaber Hospital."

Hempel is helping Kuwait execute many other projects, such as the headquarters of the Ministry of Education, the facade of the Special Forces camp, offices of Al-Arjan company and Salmiya park, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Institute of Nursing, Kuwait College of Science and Technology, Faculty of Health Sciences, and a project to build 892 villas at Jaber Al-Ahmad New City, where home paint samples have been supplied.

By Ben Garcia