The Big 5

Venus’ quarry and factory (below).

Venus’ quarry and factory (below).

New territory

February 2011

FROM the imposing façade of the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, US, to the renovation of the Parthenon in Greece, Venus Marble Corporation (VMC) stakes claim to having contributed to numerous projects – large and small – worldwide.

The Greek company is now looking at penetrating the Saudi market, which is virtually an unexplored territory in its books.

“For our company, Saudi Arabia is a new market to expand. We know it only as an importer of Saudi Arabian stones,” says George Vrakas of the company’s export department.

With Jeddah being the “gateway” for the stone market in the kingdom, he says, The Big 5 Saudi Arabia provides a suitable launch pad to enter the market. The company’s participation at the event has the backing of the Hellenic Export Promotion Organisation.

At the expo, VMC intends to promote a large variety of marbles that it quarries, processes and markets in the form of blocks, slabs, tiles, and cut-to-size items. Some of these products have already made an impact on the Gulf market when the company presented them at  The Big 5 Show in Dubai last year and during its commercial trips to Abu Dhabi, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

The company also intends to promote a number of stock materials at discounted prices in the region.

VMC, established in 2000 and employing a staff of 800, owns quarries and operates factories in Greece, Bulgaria (Venus-B Limestone Corporation), China (Olympia Stone Corporation), and has distribution facilities in the US (Medimer Marble & Granite Corporation). It uses advanced stone-processing machinery including gang saws, bridge-cutters, diamond wire cutting machines, polishing machines, CNC (computerised numerical control) machines and water-jet machines. This gives the firm the capability to take on large assignments.

“Utilising up-to-date technology available, Venus has the know-how and machinery to produce architectural products of any nature such as columns, capitols, rails, sculptures, bathtubs, fountains and fireplaces,” says Vrakas. “Our experience includes restoration work at many of the archeological sites throughout Greece, including making three capitols for the Parthenon. We have benefitted this experience and use it daily for architectural stone work in residential and commercial projects all over the world.”

The vertically-integrated stone company recently opened a new marble quarry in the northern Greece, where commercial production is expected to start in the next few months. For the future, VMC plans further expansion in the quarries sector to diversify its product range.

Vrakas says business for the company was good last year although its performance in 2009 was better. In its domestic market, Greece, the company is the 15th largest in the marble sector.

Among the projects it has supplied to in the Gulf region are the Al Wakra Hospital in Qatar and the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Bahrain.

VMC is eager to supply other projects in the region. “We believe that the GCC offers good prospects for the construction industry; for us, the main markets in the region are the UAE and Qatar,” he says.

The company will be present at Stand D15 at The Big 5 Saudi Arabia.

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