Construction Business News caught up with Alberto Torner – Regional Manager – Middle East and Africa, Ariston to hear about the company’s water heaters.
Tell us about your product offering
Ariston is a privately owned company based in Italy, close to Rome with a turnover of $1.4bn turnover. We’ve been operating here in the Middle East for the past 40 years.
We specialise in water heaters – that means electro water heaters, solar panels, heat pumps and gas boilers. Our bread and butter is the electro water heater and now we are introducing bigger capacity heaters with two heating elements, 9kW in total.
We are also one of the few players to introduce gas condensing boilers because we find that some projects in this region, especially hotels, are pushing for gas because of the electrical load.
What is your client base?
Our products can be used in either domestic or commercial projects, depending on the capacity of the product. From single villas to labour accommodation and big hotels, they can serve all needs. We sell the products retail and of course we do direct business with the project sector – construction companies, consultants, etc.
How is the market right now?
Last year was a good year for us. The performance was better than 2015 and better than we forecasted. I would say the project side of the business was stable. It’s the other part of the business that grew. Now solar is mandatory for each villa in Dubai so we are growing a lot on the renewable products side, not only solar but also heat pumps.
There is also a growing necessity to reduce the electrical load which means that developers and contractors are looking for higher efficiency products.
What challenges are you currently facing?
The challenge here is that customers want the best quality at the lowest price. This is a problem because contractors are bringing the value of our industry to the minimum level. This is not good. They are not creating value for our products.
We are one of the biggest manufacturers of electro water heaters and we are investing in technology to supply greener products and of course you have to invest a huge amount in R&D in order to supply the market with smarter products.
But over here there is the tendency to be very focused on price. And this is a pity because in the end you have to provide good quality products.
Are you seeing much competition in the market?
We find a bigger number of unstructured, unorganised companies in the market. But we are aiming for quality. We have 22 production sites and every site provides the same quality.