Middle Eastern packaging producer gains visibility on new markets and competitors
MEPCO are a Middle Eastern packaging producer, with a production capacity of half a million tons of containerboard. We outline how they use Fastmarkets' global insights to grow their business.
Founded in 2000, The Middle East Paper Company (MEPCO) produces half a million tons of containerboard and specialty board grades in the Middle East. It creates products such as fluting, test liner, kraft linerboard, semi-chemical and specialty grades like core board, plasterboard liner and saturating kraft.
The company’s relationship with Fastmarkets was formed ten years ago. During that time, it has seen significant growth, partly due to the global market insights Fastmarkets brings.
MEPCO uses a range of Fastmarkets services to facilitate the smooth running of their business operations and allow them to create forecasts and monitor daily price developments. It also uses Fastmarkets for mill intelligence and cost benchmarking when comparing its operations with other paper mills.
Summary of key points
- Through cost benchmarking and mill intelligence, MEPCO can run detailed competitor analyses, allowing it to highlight regions where they are competitive
- Insights have enabled MEPCO to vet new export markets before investing in additional revenue streams
- MEPCO has been able to navigate any future market volatility through Fastmarkets events and economic forecasts
- The company plans to enter tissue production after using data to identify a gap in the Middle Eastern market
Market visibility and competitor analysis
Ahmad Fazary, chief commercial officer at MEPCO, led the company’s initial onboarding of the Fastmarkets platform.
“When I joined, we didn’t have a Fastmarkets subscription and people were not sure what kind of information they would get for the fee. However, it soon became an integral part of our daily operations,” he said.
One of MEPCO’s key uses of the Fastmarkets platform centers around its competitor analysis capabilities. Through the asset analysis and mill intelligence tools the MEPCO team are able to see how competitive their mills are in the regions where they operate.
This can be pivotal when it comes to seeking visibility on mill production factors such as energy consumption or capacity, as it can highlight where MEPCO might be in a less advantageous position.
The cost benchmarking charts and data provided by Fastmarkets’ index builder also refine the company’s competitor analysis. With the tool, MEPCO can compare their material costs and end-product prices with regional averages. This is particularly useful for companies like MEPCO, which produce containerboard and paperboard.
Fastmarkets provides a rich source of customizable data and statistical analysis, which we need for market visibility because the paper industry is global and we are impacted with everything that happens around the world.
Useful for evaluating export markets
Fastmarkets’ asset analysis data has proven vital for MEPCO when evaluating a new potential export market. The reports and data provided give the company an overview of key factors that affect the containerboard market, including GDP, market size, per capita consumption, product breakdowns and more.
The platform allows MEPCO’s team to compile this information so they have a detailed view of a specific export market they are looking to target. Fazary says, “It enables me to answer questions such as ‘Are there any new investments, upgrades, or major events happening in this market?’.”
Keep up to date with industry changes through forecasts
By attending Fastmarkets’ events and conferences, the company has been able to keep up to date with the latest industry news. The updates come in the form of market outlooks from our team of economists.
The detailed analysis we provide has proven to be an invaluable source of information.
The forecasts are key at the events. When they are being delivered, everyone’s eyes are wide open, waiting to hear it.
MEPCO has also found that networking is a crucial part of the conferences. In addition to potential customers, the delegate spread includes a full range of decision makers from the entire supply chain, such as suppliers, traders and logistics professionals.
The company also uses Fastmarkets’ short- and long-term forecasts when creating its 10-year company plans. Given the volatility caused by the recent geopolitical climate, it has been as vital as ever for the company to have an informed view of the future.
Fazary comments, “We constantly monitor certain price developments as they have a direct impact on us, such as markets that export to the Middle East. Monitoring the European market (one of the largest exporters to the Middle East) is a daily task”.
Facilitate growth into new markets
Since the company was founded in 2000, MEPCO has seen its capacity increase from 60,000 tons to 500,000 tons. Fazary says, “In the beginning, the Middle East market was almost fully relying on imports and imports, mainly from European producers. Now things are changing.”
The growth continues. MEPCO recently moved into tissue production in 2023, adding it to its portfolio of investments in the paper industry.
MEPCO will be adding a tissue capacity of 60,000 tons after discovering a significant gap between demand and supply within the middle eastern market. This is an example of a key strategic business decision that was made due to having access to relevant key market data.
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