ALEXANDRIA: Lecico Egypt announced the first trial production from International Ceramics, its new tile plant in Borg El-Arab. The company was able to secure government approval to connect its new tile plant to the natural gas grid in June and has moved as quickly as possible to begin production.
Lecico expects the red body portion of its first phase of the plant to be fully operational in August. The total project has a capacity of 17 million square meters, 12.8 million square meters of red body tiles and 4.2 million square meters of Gres Porcellanato or glazed porcelain floor tiles.
The investment is being done in two phases, each with a capacity of 6.4 million square meters of red body tiles and 2.1 million square meters of porcelain tiles. The red body portion of the first phase is now in trial production.
However the start date for the first phase porcelain body production has been delayed due to political events and the board has yet to confirm a new launch date for this production.
The Company will notify investors as soon as new date is set. The roll-out of the second phase remains to be decided in light of demand on phase one.
“This project will increase Lecico’s existing tile capacity by over 70 percent, a significant expansion justified by the continued strong demand for our tiles even in the difficult economic conditions our region has faced this year,” commented Gilbert Gargour, Lecico Egypt chairman and CEO.
“For several years now our tile plant in Khorshid has been operating at full capacity and we have had to make difficult choices about allocating product as demand for our tiles has continued to grow both inside and outside Egypt. I am also very enthusiastic about the prospects for glazed porcelain tiles – a new high value product for Lecico with potential markets across Europe and the Middle East. If current market conditions hold constant, this expansion, has the potential to generate incremental annual revenues of around LE 490 million when the project is running at full capacity. This should be quite profitable for the company as these sales should be achievable with only a limited increase in distribution and other overheads.”
Gres Porcellanato is the Italian name for porcelain stoneware or porcelain tiles. Glazed or unglazed, they are made up of special clays and are fully vitrified tiles with very low water absorption. These tiles are regarded as superior to red-body tiles because of their unique features like color, stain, chemical and frost resistance, high abrasion resistance and low water absorption. These qualities make porcelain stoneware tiles a perfect choice for both exterior and interior application in any climate.