ICV holds key to Octal’s business plan, says CEO

933210=Kaushalendra Singh –
SALALAH, FEB 20 –
Octal, the largest global manufacturer of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is driven by strong in country value (ICV) even though 98 per cent of its products are exported in more than 80 countries and expanding strongly in North America, Middle East, South America and Asia.
In an interview with Observer, Nicholas P Barkat, Chief Operating Officer, put stress on the company’s ICV and said that Octal is one of the largest customers of Port of Salalah, transporting 40,000 containers per year.
“We are supporting the local market in many ways and our priority is to give them a boost with strong sustainability in mind. We are key customer of Salalah’s logistics companies, its property rental market, maintenance companies, and banks. We prioritise local suppliers and service providers,” said Barkat.
The Octal’s import substitution for 2015 valued at RO 3.1 million ($8.1 million) with strong domestic supply purchases in 2016. The company replaced majority of PET imports to Oman, providing local manufacturers with significant cost-advantage.
Commenting on the company’s unique selling proposition (USP), Barkat dwelt upon the innovation aspect that led to “$600 million investment in unique patented state-of-the-art technology, placing Oman at forefront of creation of environmentally friendly packaging material.”
Octal, according to him, has four patents with over 50 claims, developed with universities and consultants in the USA and first to use Melt-to-Resin (MTR) process eliminating the need for a Solid State Polymerization plant.
“Octal is successful in value creation with capability to convert food packaging to PET as the company’s targeted markets are short term shelf life packaging for poultry and longer shelf life for dates and other segments,” he said.
“There has been quality development with knowledge sharing between Oman and US that probably has led us be the industry leader in the application and conversion of PVC, PP and PS to PET with the capability to develop high speed conversion systems at the customers’ site.”
Talking further about ICV and the company’s capacity building, Barkat took pride in Octal’s becoming one of largest direct employers in Salalah with a total number of employees reaching at 531.
“Plans are in place for 25 new manufacturing positions for Omanis, training and development initiatives and educational scholarships. To date the Octal has founded 14 educational scholarships to support local talent and raise intelligent workforce,” he said.
Elaborating further the ICV initiatives, Barkat cited some Octal initiatives taken along with the Ministry of Manpower, internship opportunities to the Omani nationals and overseas placement and training opportunities.
“Octal launched the National Technical Development Programme in collaboration with Ministry of Manpower and partner colleges, trained 93 people since 2008 with 89 subsequently offered jobs, provided 225 internship opportunities to date, active programme of continuous professional development, and overseas placement and training opportunities in Saudi Arabia and USA.”
As a leader of the technology and knowledge driven company, Barkat looks committed to global standards for sustainability and environmental innovations.