Zafco aiming for US$1 billion by 2012

Following a successful Tyrexpo Asia earlier this year, Zafco, the Dubai based tyre distributor of tyres, batteries and lubricants, opted for a second high profile exhibition stand at Automechanika Middle East. Tyres & Accessories was on-hand in Dubai to find out more.

One of the fastest growing companies at the show, Zafco has recorded average growth of over 30 per cent each year since current CEO Kopiraj KV took the helm just over two years ago. In 2009 the company registered a turnover exceeding 1 billion dirhams. But with the bar now raised to US$1 billion by 2012, the company is looking to triple its 2010 turnover.

Tyre, battery and lubricant operation aiming to triple operations over next two years

The plan is to do this by expanding into a new “upscale” car service retail business called ZDegree in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) area, which includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE). At the same time there is talk of a new joint venture plus brand and dealer partnerships across the world, along with “manufacturing arrangements in cost effective locations.” The key growth areas Zafco is looking at investing in include building its brands’ footprints, focusing on fast growing markets around the world

The company now operates in over 85 countries and works closely with 800-plus distributors around the world. According to the company, Zafco’s goal is to be recognized as the number one source for the world’s best tyres across the UAE and the wider Middle East and Africa. The company also contract manufactures under the Zeetex brand.

At the end of 2010 Zafco achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification after a positive review of its quality management systems. The ISO 9001:2008 maintains that a number of requirements need to be fulfilled in order to achieve customer satisfaction through quality products and services that meet customer expectations, Zafco said. The same year the firm won the Gold award from Dubai customs.

“Our recent achievement of ISO 9001:2008 certification, without any non conformance, is the result of our meticulous attention to quality,” said Gopiraj KV, CEO. “It is a consequence of the culture that Zafco people are groomed in. The culture of ‘Customer, Process and People’ is inculcated in every team member of Zafco.”

The Pirelli connection

Founded in Dubai in 1993, Zafco imports and exports passenger tyres, batteries and lubricants. The company now operates in over 85 countries and works closely with 800-plus distributors around the world. But it began with a relationship with a well-known Italian tyre manufacturer. Back in 1996 Zafco initiated the kind of operations it is presently engaged with via a relationship with Pirelli which saw Zafco serve the African markets. By 1998 the company had reached its first growth milestone, breaking the 100 million dirham (US$27.4 million) barrier. In 2007 the company was appointed as Pirelli distributor in Abu Dhabi, which led the firm inaugurating a warehouse facility with room for over 1 million tyres, apparently one of the largest of its kind in the Middle East. The next landmark came in the form of a 2008 partnership with Japanese brand Toyo in the UAE. As we have seen in 2009 the company broke the 1 billion dirham sales barrier, before latterly gained ISO 9001.

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