Daily News Egypt interviewed Ahmed Nawara, deputy chairperson of Al-Manar Group, which works in the field of importing and manufacturing automotive oils.
Al-Manar was established in 1975 as an import company. Yet, 40 years later, the company managed to expand and own four subsidiaries working in importing, exporting, manufacturing, storage, and distribution.
The parent company now has four subsidiaries working under its umbrella: Al-Manar AMIX for import and export, which specialises in importing and exporting spare parts for European cars; Al-Manar AMCF for manufacturing car fluid; Al-Manar AMTD for distribution and trade; and Al-Manar AMSF for storage in the free zone in Alexandria.
Al-Manar imports brake pads, filters, rings, pistons, starting motors, dynamos, lights, plugs, drums, clutch cylinders, and other parts.
What is the size of the company’s investments?
Al-Manar Group invested EGP 500m, including the value of assets and the working capital, in the brake oil plant that was established in 6th of October City. The plant has the ISO 9,000 quality certificate, in addition to ISO 14,000 for environmental management, and ISO 18,000 for industrial safety. The factory’s annual production stands at approximately 3,000 tonnes, of which 2,000 tonnes is brake fluid, with the remaining 1,000 tonnes being other fluid types.
What are your target investments for 2017?
Al-Manar Group has started 2017 strongly by completing a contract with Honeywell to use the Bendix trademark in Egypt and North Africa for brake, transmission, and hydraulic oils and grease products. The agreement will be activated in July 2017. This is an important step in the expansion to foreign markets, which proves the confidence of Honeywell, being one of the Fortune 100 companies.
The agreement represents the confidence of international companies and investors in the Egyptian economy and its positive development, especially in light of the recent economic measures. Al-Manar imports raw materials and mixes and packages them in the parent company that was established in 2000 in 6th of October City.
What is the company’s market share in terms of brake oil?
Since the establishment of Al-Manar Group 40 years ago, our goal has been to provide high quality products. This gave us the confidence of the Egyptian consumers; hence, we obtained 40-45% of the market share in the commercial sector.
What is the production size of automotive fluids?
The factory’s annual production stands at approximately 3,000 tonnes, of which 2,000 tonnes is brake fluid, with the remaining 1,000 tonnes as other fluid types. We aim to boost production to 3,000 tonnes of brake fluid in 2018.
Have you finished extracting a license for the packing plant? Once operative, what would its output capacity be?
Al-Manar Group succeeded in obtaining the license to manufacture engine, transmission, and hydraulic fluids, beside brake oils and cooling water. We expect the total production volume of the group to double.
What are your stances in the field of feeder industries during the coming period?
In line with Al-Manar Group’s plan to expand in the Egyptian market, we obtained the license to manufacture and package engine oils. We will also expand in the fields of transmission and hydraulic fluids.
Has the company entered partnerships with car companies and service centres to adopt Al-Manar Group as their official oil, like major companies do?
Since the beginning of the company’s work, we have focused on direct sales to specialised traders and service centres.
The spare parts market is seeing a problem of fraud. The group has faced a problem with fake Bendix products before. What measures did you take to protect your products?
The high rate of car accidents in Egypt is attributed to fake spare parts. This pushed us to rely on original brake fluid to help reduce the rate of annual car accidents. Maintaining the lives of citizens through reliance on genuine products has become a necessity. Al-Manar is seeking to raise awareness amongst distributors and traders about the need to check the brand and to warn against fake types. Al-Manar Group also cooperates regularly with the Ministry of Supply by reporting on cases of commercial fraud and dealing in counterfeit products.
What is the impact of the flotation on the company’s performance?
Al-Manar Group is confident in the economic reform measures taken by the state. Just like other companies, we have been impacted by the high cost of raw materials, but we know this is a temporary phase, which we have to traverse with hard work to reach foreign markets and bring hard currency to Egypt. Through the deal with Honeywell, Al-Manar Group has succeeded in becoming the licensed user of Bendix trademark in Egypt and North Africa. This provides confidence for the company and the Egyptian economy. This will also contribute to increasing dollar resources to the group and Egypt.
We have been conducting negotiations with Talaat Ghabbour, who owns a large filters factory in 10th of Ramadan City, to manufacture guard filters. This type of partnership is better than importing and looking for hard currency and will provide continuous supply.
The automotive components makers meet constantly at exhibitions. The possibility of running manufacturing themselves is always under consideration. They could agree to this exchange and trade-offs of products. This could become the new form of investment during the upcoming period. For example, I manufacture engine oils or brake fluids at my factory, while another company manufactures brake pads for me. The deal will then be based on swapping depending on quantity. For example, I give them one tonne of brake fluid in exchange for a tonne of brake pads, according to the prices, and cross-reference the price difference.