Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Local products dominate exhibition

Oromia Pipe factory PLC (OPF) produces UPVC pipes for water supply, drainage, irrigation and electric transmission.
Fekadu Megersa, exhibiting OPF’s product, said the four year old company makes pipes from 63 millimeters to 600 millimeters. He said the factory is the only one that produces pipes over 400 millimeters in length.
“Before we entered the market it was filled by steel pipes, which are on average five times heavier and more expensive than plastic ones. Plastic is much easier to transport,” Fekadu said.
He also said so far they haven’t encountered problems with customers because demand is outstripping supply.
However he said they participated in the exhibition for a second year in a row because they wanted to get the word out to the larger customer base which still doesn’t know about their products and still thinks that pipes over 400 mm are only produced in foreign countries.
OPF also said its products fulfill the government’s strategy of import substitution, filling the gap for plastic pipes currently being imported from countries such as China and India. 
The raw materials for the plastic pipes come from petroleum by-products of oil producing nations of the Middle East.
Oromia Pipe Factory PLC was established as a joint venture between the Government owned Oromia water construction enterprise and an American/Egyptian company Golden trade company and started production on November 12, 2007. 
Ethiopia steel Private Limited Company produces corrugated iron sheets, profiles, aluminum zinc and coated sheets used for modern building houses, residential and recreational hotels.
Matiwose Yohannes Technical Sales Advisor at Ethiopian Steel PLC said its products have been used by the well known Sunshine Construction Company, Yotek real estate company, Access real estate and the Italian construction firm Salini Costrutori.
This is the third time the company has displayed their products in the event, which they claim are less expensive than other companies.
Henrik Puustinen from Finland, exhibiting for  SINI furniture and interior design, a locally based company was a very satisfied guy. He says his company received a positive reception for their high quality wooden furniture at the “Ethiopia Built” 2012 expo.
SINI makes their furniture locally with imported machines and training provided by experts from Finland.
“Our products are less expensive compared to imported ones although they are comparatively expensive when compared to local products. They have been popular with Ethiopians since we began production in September 2011, Henrik said. 
The customers include private citizens, restaurants and bars and night clubs. The company with an employee force of about 60 says it’s most popular products so far are sofas and chairs for restaurants and bars with the smallest price for an item standing at 700 birr for a stool to 30,000 birr for a complete sofa set.
SINI has participated in a furniture exhibition in October 2011 and a construction exhibition in January 2012.
Azeb Shimelis, who was traveling through the exhibition, was excited by the local products but frustrated that many refused to divulge their price.
“I’m guessing that the exhibitioners don’t want to divulge the price of their products and instead lead me to their sales office because they don’t want their competitors to know their product price,” Azeb said in an irritated tone.
Her view was shared by Mesfin Birhan another visitor to the exhibition who said future exhibitioners should be willing and able to reveal the price of their products in order not to further hassle customers touring the expo.
The combined Fourth Addis International Construction and third Real Estate Trade Fair organized by a Dutch based firm HPP Ethiopia was held from May 3-6 and featured about 40 companies showing local and foreign made products.