For many multinationals, Pakistan is a land of opportunities primarily because of its high population, growing migration of people to urban centres and subsequent changes in lifestyle, generating demand for high-quality products.
Though they face myriad of challenges in the country, particularly the law and order conditions and energy shortages, a few of them still decide to enter this attractive market for their products.
Jotun, a globally renowned paint manufacturer headquartered in Norway, has opened a wet paint producing plant in Lahore. Jotun had already been indirectly present in Pakistan for years through its distributors, who imported finished goods from Abu Dhabi for sale in the domestic market.
However, in line with its production facilities all around the world, it has set up its paint manufacturing plant here.
“We, as a global quality paint company, are fully aware of the potential of paint market in Pakistan, as we believe that a lot of developments have to take place here,” said Syed Ather, General Manager Commercial of Jotun Pakistan, in an interview with The Express Tribune.
Besides its presence via paint distributors, Jotun has been producing dry powder coatings in its Lahore factory since 2004 which are largely meant for industry-related appliances, pipelines and use in general industries. In 2008, the company decided to step up sales of water-based paints to cater to the demand for decorative coatings.
Jotun, which was quite satisfied with its distributors, strengthened the network further to compete in a highly competitive market, despite its target customers being from the high-income class for now.
“As far as our distribution network is concerned, we are happy with the developments so far. We feel this is the right time for the company to invest in a local production facility to facilitate our distributors and consumers who previously faced issues concerning product availability,” Ather said.
“We have invested in domestic production and will continue to invest whenever the need arises for upgrading or introducing other coatings in the market.”
Jotun products are available only in selected brand shops numbering 70 since the company believes it is one of the top and quality paint manufacturers in the region and general public will not be able to pay for the quality and prices of its paints.
“The trend in Pakistan is changing. People now have more awareness of paints as they are upgrading their lives. Paint market is growing. We do target the premium market, but also have products for the medium market. For lower end, we are not that much concerned for the time being,” Ather said.
Prices of Jotun paints are higher compared to other paints, but Ather said the best quality needed extra premium which would not discourage the targeted segment and the company from competing in the market.
“Competitors are everywhere and Pakistan is a competitive market but we know how to work in such markets. We are pretty comfortable, though it is challenging, we like to work in challenging conditions,” Ather said.
The company is not considering exporting its products to central Asian or other countries from Pakistan as meeting paint needs in Pakistan, which has great room for expansion, is a big challenge.
Jotun, a private limited company with presence in 90 countries of the world, employs more than 8,000 people. In Pakistan, the company has two units manufacturing dry powder coatings and wet paints for decorative coatings. It employs more than 100 people and is committed to expanding its footprint in the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2013.