Established in 1996, Crown Paper Mill (CPM) produces prime quality, super commercial and commercial grades of tissue paper in jumbo rolls from 100% virgin pulp and recycled waste paper. Headquartered in the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi, the company currently operates three paper mills with a total production capacity of 100,000 TPA. CPM is now set to expand its business into Saudi Arabia with the establishment of a fourth paper mill, becoming the first UAE-based company to establish a paper mill in Saudi Arabia, and the largest in the region taking the total production capacity of CPM to 160,000 TPA. In a recent interaction with Paper Mart, Mr. Abdullah Al Khateeb, Managing Director, Crown Paper Mill, shared about the company’s business journey, infrastructure and product portfolio, their Saudi Arabia expansion, the company’s USPs, future plans and many more topics.
“With the establishment of PM4, CPM will produce an additional 60,000 TPA, taking the total production capacity of CPM to 160,000 TPA, expected to be the largest in the region.”
Paper Mart: Please brief us about the business journey of your company, Crown Paper Mill.
Abdullah Al Khateeb: Crown Paper Mill (CPM) was established in 1996 and is ranked as one of the leading producers of jumbo tissue paper rolls in the region. CPM started its production (IPM1) with a capacity of 12,000 TPA of tissue paper. In 2011, the mill added a PM2 machine, which raised the total capacity to 38,000 TPA. Due to the high demand for CPM products, in 2019, one more machine PM3 was added, taking the total production capacity to 100,000 TPA.
PM: What are CPM’s current infrastructural setup, product portfolio, and manufacturing capacities?
AAK: Crown Paper Mill (CPM) covers a total area of 50,000 sq m at the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD) and is regarded highly among tissue converters. CPM is equipped with cutting-edge technology and machinery that is supplied by Valmet, the world’s top supplier of tissue paper machines. In addition to this, CPM houses the only machine in the region that can produce 52 gsm along with all other grades including recycled grades and colored tissue. With regard to quality, the mill is ISO certified and is known for exclusively supplying high-quality tissue paper to its customers. All high-quality tissue grades are made from the finest virgin pulp and recycled grades acquired from various suppliers around the world. Our tissue paper output ranges from 12.5 gsm to 53 gsm. CPM’s jumbo tissue paper rolls are available in various grades, including facial, toilet, kitchen towel, napkin, C-fold, and carrier tissue.
PM: Crown Paper Mill plans expansion into Saudi Arabia. Can you enlighten us about this expansion plan and the vision behind this expansion?
AAK: The paper tissue segment in Saudi Arabia is projected to grow exponentially, resulting in increased market volume in the years to come. Saudi Arabia has always been an important market for CPM. The company’s intention is to offer CPM products to customers in Saudi Arabia with a better delivery time while improving the logistics network originating from Saudi Arabia to other parts of the GCC. With the establishment of PM4, CPM will produce an additional 60,000 TPA, taking the total production capacity of CPM to 160,000 TPA, expected to be the largest in the region. With this expansion, CPM will become the first UAE-based company to establish a paper mill in Saudi Arabia, and the largest in the region, which is a commendable achievement for a company originating from the UAE.
PM: What kind of investments are associated with this expansion with regard to land acquisition, technology, machinery/infrastructure setup, target production capacity, and product category to which it is going to cater?
AAK: Crown Paper Mill has signed an investment contract with the Royal Commission in Jubail for CPM Paper Mill 4 in KSA. With the signing of this contract, CPM is now looking forward to having a long-lasting business relationship with KSA. Our mission is to expand the CPM name in different markets and become the largest in the region. As a result, we have already acquired 90,000 sq m of land in Jubail 2 for building a paper complex while catering to our future needs in Saudi Arabia. The land will be used to produce tissue jumbo rolls and other related paper products.
Our new paper machine with an annual production capacity of 60,000 MT of jumbo rolls will be operational during the last quarter of 2024.
PM: Tell us about your current market share and how your expansion into Saudi is going to impact your clientele.
AAK: The GCC and Mena regions account for about 95% of our market share. This includes approximately 30% to 35% coming out of Saudi Arabia, and our objective is to increase this number. The move will help CPM logistically, save on customs duties, and improve our chances of competing within Saudi Arabia. The strategic location will also help us with our network channels, and most importantly, we consider Saudi Arabia an untapped market with a lot of potential to explore.
PM: How are your company’s activities in line with the world’s vision for a sustainable future?
AAK: At CPM, sustainability and environment-friendly procedures are followed without harming the environment. CPM supports sustainable forestry in sourcing raw materials, especially when it comes to pulp. As a result, CPM is an FSC-certified company, and we only work with certified suppliers who are environment-friendly. CPM is also committed to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors. By prioritizing ESG factors in CPM operations, we are building trust with our stakeholders, including customers, investors, employees, and the wider community.
Prior to any new venture, CPM takes into consideration factors affecting the economy, employees, and environment, including water and electricity. To support the cause, CPM is also producing recycled tissue paper with incentivized pricing. The intention is to increase our recycled tissue quantity, use recovered tissue paper, and promote it in our target market to support the environment as much as possible.
“With this expansion, CPM will become the first UAE-based company to establish a paper mill in Saudi Arabia, and the largest in the region, which is a commendable achievement for a company originating from the UAE.”
PM: Please enlighten us about the current scenario and the future of the tissue paper industry.
AAK: The tissue industry itself is a growing market, especially in our region. Post-COVID, tissue paper has proven to be a hygienic product to prevent COVID, and it has become more of a necessity than a luxury. Almost everybody understood the importance of tissue paper, and as a result, the market share increased. Demand also increased after COVID because when the market opened up, a lot of people started traveling and they always ensured that they used tissue paper to maintain hygiene levels. Which obviously works to our advantage. Hence, we believe that demand is going to continue increasing in this sector, calling for more investments. Most importantly, there are many markets where demand is high and needs to be tapped. For example, in India and Africa, where the population is high, awareness of the importance of tissue paper is rising, and the potential is immense. In Saudi Arabia itself, there is a huge market for us and we intend to explore it. Other countries that are also showing interest in tissue paper usage are countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc. which are potential markets, and CPM considers these as ideal locations to market tissue paper. Another factor that will play a pivotal role will be logistics, and whoever can compete better in this segment will come out as the winner.
PM: What are your company’s USPs and how is it different from the rest of the players in the market?
AAK: One of the biggest advantages that CPM has is its modern machine technology which is more efficient in terms of utility consumption. Also, our raw material prices are the most competitive compared to others, due to the highest volume of purchases within the region. We also have an excellent logistics network that supports our customers, and our connectivity is one of the best in the region. Product-wise, our brands are well-known in the market and all converters accept our products. As mentioned before, we have products ranging from 12.5 gsm ultra-thin tissue to 52 gsm hand towels, and we are capable of producing any grade including prime tissue (100% virgin pulp) and recycle grades like brown tissue napkins that are in demand nowadays because of the sustainability requirement. As far as product knowledge and customer service go, we have an expert team that is well-experienced and they hail from all over the world with vast knowledge in the tissue paper industry. With sustainability concerns, we only work with FSC-certified companies that supply us pulp, and our manufacturing processes are also environment friendly.
When it comes to technology, our machines, and technical know-how are supplied by the world-renowned machine supplier Valmet, whose reputation precedes itself. We also place paramount importance on artificial intelligence, which helps us achieve precision results and ensure the quality is the best in the market.
“The move will help CPM logistically, save on customs duties, and improve our chances of competing within Saudi Arabia. The strategic location will also help us with our network channels, and most importantly, we consider Saudi Arabia an untapped market with a lot of potential to explore.”
PM: What are your future plans to serve the industry better?
AAK: The future looks promising as far as the tissue paper industry is concerned. As mentioned before, post-COVID, the demand for tissue paper is on the rise. People have realized the importance of the hygiene aspect that it brings with it. As far as CPM is concerned, our plans are well structured, and we plan to grow in new markets. Starting off with Saudi Arabia in 2024, we have strategically planned our entry into the Kingdom, which will ensure a good hold in the region. This will help us serve our customers better in the GCC region and improve delivery times as well. Moreover, if demand arises we might consider expanding the business outside the region. The opportunities are endless, and at the end of the day, we will always have a growth mindset and seize the opportunities if they work to our advantage.