By Joanne Bladd
Aujan Industries chairman also eyes growth in India, Egypt markets.
Saudi soft drinks giant Aujan Industries is targeting $1bn worth of sales by 2012 as it mulls new markets and possible mergers, its chairman has said.
Adel Aujan said the company was on track to hit the revenue targets, after emerging from the global downturn unscathed.
He said the firm saw a more than 20 percent rise in revenue in 2009 and was expecting a similar increase this year.
"We're a one-riyal business. It's anti-cyclical. We do better in recessions than upturns. People don't buy expensive things in a recession but buy more of the low-priced items to compensate," he told Arabian Business in an interview.
Today, courtesy of its brands Rani, Vimto and Barbican, Aujan is the largest drinks firm in the GCC.
In 2008, the company nailed its target to deliver $500m in revenue 12 months ahead of its five-year plan and next on the game plan is the $1bn by 2012.
"The trick is staying ahead of the demand. That means expanding or existing plants and building new plants to keep up with supply. The challenge is to stay ahead in terms of capital, distribution and human capital," added Aujan.
Kadir Gunduz, the company's CEO and president, said two new plants were on the cards in the next two years, with Iraq a priority as soon as the political situation stablises.
The demand for Aujan products in Iraq is enormous with several hundred shipping containers a month pouring in.
Markets in Indian and Egypt are also on the radar for expansion with the company in talks with local operators for a potential joint venture.
This company has done well because it placed western staff at senior levels who were then able to install discipline into the business. Without this, the foundations for this growth would never have been possible. Mergers with companies making cola poducts will help the growth but not necessarily the profitablility. The lack of alignment with its staff will be a major impediment to achieving the products and the profitability required by the owners.