Octal plans downstream expansion, to float shares

Business Saturday 11/February/2017 17:12 PM
By: Times News Service
Octal plans downstream expansion, to float shares

Muscat: Octal, the largest polyethylene terephthalate (PET) sheet producer and integrated packaging company in the world, has said it is now geared for a downstream expansion, with the long-term goal of an initial public offering to support global growth.
“Octal has invested and will continue to invest in a phased approach to capture end-use applications, where the next generation PET becomes the optimal solution when compared to applications with other polymers,” said Octal chief executive officer Nicholas Barakat.
Octal’s first phase focused on achieving a leadership position in the established markets with the introduction of its proprietary DPET (direct to sheet process) sheet with its superior mechanical performance and environmental benefits. The second phase involved disrupting existing markets through material science, conversion and new technologies.
With phase three, the company’s vision is to expand the universe of DPET applications through the deployment of new processes and downstream growth.
The upward demand trajectory for Octal’s fully recyclable, sustainably produced packaging solutions—used by food, beverage, pharmaceutical and consumer goods businesses—continues to be driven by the introduction of innovative new products.
“The growth in 2017 and 2018 is expected to mostly come from the application of new technologies in the pipeline.
In its tenth consecutive year of growth since its establishment in 2006 and with four purpose-built plants in Oman, Saudi Arabia and the USA, Octal’s products now comprise 7.3 per cent of Oman’s non-oil exports.
Founded with an investment of $600 million, Octal operates on strong eco principles, prioritising the stewardship of natural resources. In 2015, it had an export value of $569 million, selling 98 per cent of its high-quality, environment-friendly PET resin and sheet product overseas. With a total annual capacity of almost one million metric tonnes, Octal is the largest global manufacturer of PET sheets and resin on a single site, and the only company in the world with a fully integrated food packaging system from raw material to finished product.
Sales growth
Reinforcing its position as the world’s leading supplier of eco-conscious and high performance DPET sheets and PET resin, Octal has announced an anticipated growth of 16 per cent in sales for 2017 with production already under way on contracted orders to the value of $260 million.
The export powerhouse of Oman’s story of growth and market success has been all about consistently delivering value downstream, employing disruptive technologies that redefine DPET’s capabilities, and expanding the variety of its applications.
“Octal’s global reach contributes to the diversification of Oman’s economic base by generating further direct and in-direct employment opportunities for the people of the Sultanate and also by augmenting support for the domestic economy as it prioritises local suppliers and service providers. We are working closely with the SMEs and other manufacturers to develop the downstream PET industry and formulate a strategic outline and vision on how we can contribute towards boosting Oman’s vision of a diversified economy,” added Barakat.
New technologies
“Developing new technologies with applications in new geographies has been the cornerstone of our success and a clear indication of the immense possibilities and potential of the manufacturing sector and its line of new products in the Sultanate.”
Attracting the attention of the market, particularly this year, are the company’s recently launched, first of its kind, new process technologies for DPET pots for yogurt and dairy products and modified PET disposable cups, lids, cutlery and food service applications, which deliver performance while using lower energy. Also contributing to Octal’s sales momentum has been the successful expansion of its global reach to the high volume markets in the USA where it plans rapid growth with applications for the dairy, bakery and other food industry items. During 2017, it will benefit from the introduction of three new products, boosting the unique properties of Octal’s production lines.
Always pushing boundaries and expanding its horizons, Octal currently has a number of important new packaging solutions under development in its state-of-the-art research facility in Salalah.
Amongst its industry firsts in 2016 were the introduction of modified PET to replace high impact packaging and also a ‘form-fill-seal’ easy to recycle application using DPET, developed at the request of a major European cheese packaging manufacturer. Octal is also aiming to integrate its US and Saudi Arabia facilities to produce packaging material in addition to their previous functions. With this, these facilities will be able to produce everything required throughout the manufacturing phase from raw materials to the final product at a significantly lower cost. This will provide Octal with greater market reach and will take its capacity to new heights.
World leader
“From inception, Octal has maintained an unwavering focus on investment in capacity, proprietary technology and innovation. This has enabled us not only to accomplish sales growth year-after-year but also to become the recognised world leader in PET sheets and the industry reference point for superior product performance and environmental standards,” noted William J. Barenberg, chief operating officer and executive vice president at Octal.