''The new SAAF Paint Technical Center at Prince Salman Street in Riyadh was part of a plan to make the company more visible to its customers,'' explains factory manager Rashied Mahmoud Rashied. ''The showroom offers customers information at their fingertips and paint demonstration facilities. It also has a state-of-the-art tinting machine that can create thousands of custom colours.

A manufactuer of adhesives, sealants and paints, SAAF was established in 1975 in joint venture with the Danish Adhesive Company. ''Our goal was to support the development in Saudi Arabia and Middle East region in construction, packaging, furniture and other related industries,'' says Rashied. ''SAAF products,'' he continues, ''are specially formulated for hot climates, and the company is today is a leading maufacturer in Saudi Arabia with a strong capital base and technological and human resources.

SAAF's ultra-modern facilities in Riyadh have the capacity to produce 16,000 tonnes of adhesives, sealants and paints and the company has witnessed substantial growth in production, technology and sales turnover last year.

SAAF has effectively diversified into three main divisions:

  • Adhesives: A wide range of petroleum-based, water-based and PVC adhesives and a range of concrete admixtures for the construction industry are manufactured. A sub-division further manufactures contact adhesives and PVC adhesive in small aluminium tubes.

  • SAAF-Robbialac Paints: Decorative paints, waterproof coatings, primers, thinners, and removers are produced under technical licence from Tintas Robbialac, Portugal's largest paint manufacturer, and the company has added state-of-the-art manufacturing machinery to increase production capacity to meet the market demand.

  • Sealants division: This division manufactures acetoxy, methoxy, alkoxy and neutral sealants in cartridges in collaboration with General Electric of the US.

    The company has a total workforce of 120, including some of the best engineers and management professionals in the business, according to Rashied.

    ''SAAF closely works with world leaders in chemicals to bring together a vast range of technological skills and know-how in order to strengthen its presence worldwide,'' he adds. ''The company is at the cutting edge of technological innovation, while an in-depth knowledge of markets' needs has enabled it to build one of the most comprehensive product ranges in the adhesives and paints.''

    SAAF is also the sole distributor in the Kingdom for: GE silicone sealants, Araldite epoxy adhesives from Vantico of Dubai, and hotmelt adhesives from ATO Findley.

    Commenting on the company's expansion plans, Rashied says: ''SAAF is effectively expanding into regions where markets are fast growing. Exports, throughout the Middle East, are currently running at 15 per cent, or 1,500 tonnes per year, of total production.''

    SAAF has a branch office in Jeddah and dealers throughout Saudi Arabia as well as a network of agents throughout the Middle East, extending into neighbouring Arab states, India and Pakistan.

    The company is also expanding its presence in Egypt, and work is well under way on a new plant in Cairo which is expected to be ready by the beginning of next year.

    Another area in which the company excels in is quality, according to Rashied.

    ''SAAF is committed to enriching its technologies, to strengthen its marketing department and to do all that is possible to continue to be leading company for the quality of its products and services,'' he says. ''Its quality management system was certified to BS EN ISO 9002 (# FM 35644) for the manufacture and supply of petroleum-based and water-based adhesives, sealants, paints and related products by the British Standards Institute (BSI) in December 1996.''

    The company, he adds, is an environmentally-conscious one, and it guarantees the safety of its plants and processes together with the protection of the environment and the health of its employees.