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Sat 19 Apr 2008 04:00 AM

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A minute of your time: Said Al Karram, MESC

As Middle East Specialized Cables Company (MESC) undergoes its seventh regional expansion in less than six years, regional manager GCC & Asia Said Al Karram stresses the moves that must be made to meet the future demands of the sector.


As Middle East Specialized Cables Company (MESC) undergoes its seventh regional expansion in less than six years, regional manager GCC & Asia Said Al Karram stresses the moves that must be made to meet the future demands of the sector.

What products and services does MESC offer?

Middle East Specialized Cables (MESC) offers a wide range of industrial, instrumentation and process control cables in addition to many other types of cables that are manufactured to international standards.

It is a natural growth step for any firm to convert to a joint stock company as it gives more reliability for expansions.

The company addresses a series of market segments including energy, oil and gas, power plants, petrochemical plants, infrastructure, telecommunications and building markets.

MESC also provides inspection test plans that are prepared for individual orders, with testing carried out according to its plan. In addition, MESC arranges regular inspections by customers and outside agencies on all its products.

In which countries does MESC operate?

MESC operates mainly in the GCC region, Middle East and North Africa; it also operates in India and Nigeria. The company also has a presence and commercial activities in more than 12 countries throughout the world.

Does the company have any subsidiaries?

MESC has two subsidiaries: JNC Cables for low voltage power cables; and MESC-Fujikura Cable Company for low and medium voltage power cables.

MESC-Fujikura Cable Company is a Saudi-Japanese-Jordanian joint venture company that was formed between MESC, Fujikura and JNC Cables. It is the outcome of the owners' projection of the future potential for power cables in the GCC, Levant and North Africa markets.

It is headquartered in Al Mafraq, Jordan, as the first project to start construction in the King Hussien Bin Talal Development Area that is 70km north-east of the capital Amman.

Commercial production is expected to start by the end of Q3 2008.

Why did the firm recently convert from a liability to a joint stock company?

It's a natural growth step for any company to convert from a liability to a joint stock company because it gives it more reliability for corporate dealings and future expansions. With an access to the public capital markets.

It also facilitates future fund-raising through a second offering to finance its anticipated growth.

The public listing will enhance the firm's market position in the cables industry and highlight the advantage that its regional presence provides to the clients from its offices in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Amman.

Please outline details of the company's latest expansion, what exactly will this involve?

MESC has undergone seven consecutive expansions in less than six years. The seventh expansion is considered to be the biggest that the firm has undertaken to date. This was conceptualised primarily due to the massive demand for its cables in the region.

The expansion will substantially increase the capacity of the firm's industrial cables by 30% and manpower will rise by 25%.

An additional 5000m2 factory has been constructed at its present location, plus a 5700m2 warehouse adjacent to the existing plant has been acquired by MESC for future use.  

Why was this latest expansion necessary?

The company has been witnessing an enormous growth in different sectors and playing an integral role in the cables industry in the region by supplying its cables to mega projects not only within the region but also to the world's largest refineries.

Therefore, we had no choice but to expand and increase our manufacturing capacity as well as enhance our delivery times.

Are any further expansions planned for the future?

The company's next step will be to move into the global market and acquiring some of the cables plants in Eastern Europe after it has succeeded in evolving from a local into a regional company and demonstrated the specialised cables industry in the region.

Will the firm be adding any new product ranges or testing facilities to its portfolio in future?

MESC has recently developed special cables testing facilities for flame retardant and smoke propagation/light transmission, fire resistance and acid gas emission.

This is an addition to the existing fully-fledged routine and acceptance test facilities that are in line with international standard specifications.

The new facilities will enable MESC to strengthen its quality control measures related to supplier raw materials control as well as inhouse verification of the compliance of finished cables to special tests, and enhance the customer confidence in MESC cables.

What are the biggest challenges currently facing cable manufacturers and the industry in general in the region?

Powering the vast number of developments underway simultaneously across the region is just one of the challenges facing the cable industry worldwide.

In addition, the increase in raw materials prices is considered as a troubling factor that is being faced by most of the cables manufacturers. There is also the contractor's preference to get all types of cables supplied from one manufacturer.

How is MESC tackling these issues and preparing for future industry growth?

MESC began preparations for today's growth long ago, that is why it took all the steps needed to face such a challenge. From having several consecutive expansions, to increasing its capacity and venturing into low and medium voltage power cables by establishing MESC- Fujikura Cable Company, MESC has created a one-stop-shop for all types of cables.

On which projects are MESC products being installed?

MESC products are being installed in many major projects in the region such as the Reliance Jamnagar project in India, Dolphin project in Qatar, Sohar Fertilizer Project in Oman, Haqwiyah Gas Plant and Yansab Polyolefins in Saudi Arabia, among many others.

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