Mixer trucks now a ‘commodity’ says CIFA manager

Local manufacturers of concrete mixer trucks are providing competition for European producers, resulting in the trucks becoming a ‘commodity,’ according to CIFA’s area manager for the Middle East, Denis Giacoma.

“The problem with the mixer is that the mixer is quite cheap compared with the price of the truck,” Giacoma told PMV Middle East.

“We are facing more competition from local producers, and it’s definitely an easier product to make… it’s much more like a commodity. So in the Gulf area we are facing the problem of local producers and local assemblers, which of course is not happening for concrete pumps.”

CIFA produces a full range of concrete equipment, including pumps, placing booms and mix trucks. In two months’ time it will release a concrete pump with a 62m carbon fibre boom, which will be the first concrete pump with a carbon fibre boom sold into the region.

The company was acquired by Zoomlion in 2008, and while there is information sharing in the Middle East between CIFA and its Chinese parent company, the brands are sold through different dealers and target different market segments. The one exception is Saudi Arabia, where both CIFA and Zoomlion are sold through Omatra Group.

Commenting on the strength of the GCC market, Giacoma said that the current size of the Saudi Arabian market – 350-400 pumps per year – is comparable with Turkey, and double the size of the market in Germany.

He expects that volume to rise to 500 pumps annually in two years. Within that time, CIFA is aiming to increase its market share in Saudi from its current level of 9% to 15%.

Elsewhere, Giacoma is less positive about the strength of other GCC markets.

“Unfortunately I would say that [Saudi] is the only market in the GCC which is scoring a good result today. We do not expect many things coming from the UAE – some projects are on-going in Abu Dhabi, but the level of construction there is not sufficient for the full number of machines on stock that are running in the country. We expect no big change will happen before 2015.

“We have huge expectations in Qatar, even if personally I don’t think Qatar will be a very booming market. At the end of the day it is a very small market – even if they double their numbers it will still be a limited market.”