Brazilian FRP pipe maker to become full solutions provider

Amitech, Brazil's largest manufacturer of fiberglass reinforced polyester (FRP) pipes has a new CEO. A civil engineer with an MBA in marketing, Gonzalo Arias took command of the Brazilian operation after working 14 years for Grupo Mundial. Arias wants to diversify the portfolio supported by Amitech, currently comprising basic sanitation, irrigation and energy generation segments...

• Amitech Brazil's new CEO's goal is to provide comprehensive solutions; Brazil's largest manufacturer of FRP pipes will sell tanks and provide pipe repair services

SAO PAULO, Brazil, Dec. 12, 2008 -- Amitech, Brazil's largest manufacturer of fiberglass reinforced polyester (FRP) pipes has a new CEO. A civil engineer with an MBA in marketing, Gonzalo Arias, 41 years old, took command of the Brazilian operation after working 14 years for Grupo Mundial, a Colombian conglomerate that acquired 70% of Amitech in 2007, creating O-tek -- the remaining 30% belongs to Saudi Amiantit.

"I worked two years in the development of FRP pipes' project in Colombia, ten years as a commercial manager, and then, two years as the CEO of Flowtite Andercol, company of the group specialized in reinforced polyester pipes manufacture," Arias said.

Arias wants to diversify the portfolio supported by Amitech, currently comprising basic sanitation, irrigation and energy generation segments. "There are great opportunities in the industrial segment and other infrastructure related areas," he said. In order to support such progress, he suggests a strategy based in Amitech's technical team expansion, through the arrival of engineers currently in Technical Center that Amiantit maintains in Norway. "And we shall intensively invest in marketing actions, because FRP properties are not very know in Latin America yet," he affirmed.

Arias also intends to reposition Amitech, by transforming it into a full solutions provider. Besides pipes, the company shall work with complementary materials market, such as tanks. "In this case, we have an agreement with North American CST, reservoir manufacturer to store water. Thus, we can offer our customers a more complete alternative," explained Arias. Tanks shall be manufactured in the U.S. and sold in Brazil by Amitech.

Still regarding the full package offer, Amitech shall include in its portfolio some special services, such as pipe repair. "We have to be the best partners of companies with water transportation related projects, offering high performance products and services," he said.

Tripled sales
According to the goal's plan outlined by O-tek's Directive Council, the organization shall be four times bigger than it currently is by 2015. Today, the company has capacity to produce FRP pipes in Brazil, Colombia and Argentina -- a new plant comes into operation in Mexico by the first half of 2009. "We are already analyzing new expansions of capacity throughout Latin America," Arias anticipated.

In Brazil, Amitech has the potential to transform 330 km of fiberglass reinforced polyester pipes per year. In June of this year, after investing approximately US$ 9 million, the company started the Flowtite® line, name of the equipment developed by Amiantit for the manufacture of large diameter pipes (up to 3,000 mm), through the filament winding process. Until then, Amitech relied only in the centrifugation technology, able to produce pipes of up to 1,200 mm diameter.

By taking advantage of the funds released in the Brazilian Economic Acceleration Plan (EAP), Amitech was able to triple its earnings in 2008. "Our entrance in new markets was also important, due to the start of the Flowtite® machine operation," said Arias. "We are very glad for being in Brazil and certainly we shall continue our investments in order to expand our participation," he added.

Controlled by two international groups -- Inversiones Mundial, from Colombia, and Amiantit, from Saudi Arabia -- Amitech is the largest Brazilian manufacturer of fiberglass reinforced polyester (FRP) pipes.

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