The Big Interview: Genavco's Asif Khan

Genavco is one of the leading PMV companies in the UAE

Asif Khan, Genavco divisional manager
Asif Khan, Genavco divisional manager

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Genavco, a flagship company of Juma Al Majid Group is one of the leading PMV companies in the UAE, with a range of high quality brands.

As sellers of Hamm rollers, Vögele pavers and Wirtgen millers, road construction is covered.

For lifting applications, it has JLG aerial lift platforms and Crown forklifts. Powerscreen provides crushing and screening units for quarries, while Boge, SDMO and CompAir provide power generation and compression units.

Transmissions and engines are covered through brands including Allison Transmission, Isuzu Marine, and Detroit Diesel. They also sell Isuzu commercial vehicles, both light and medium commercial trucks, while Freightliner’s heavy duty trucks round out the commercial vehicle range.

Nevertheless, despite Genavco’s wide array of brands, there was an obvious omission: earth-moving equipment. That is no longer the case, after Genavco formed a partnership with Shantui to sell its earth moving equipment in the UAE, including bulldozers, excavators, wheel loaders, pipe layers, drilling rigs and diesel forklifts.

Shantui’s agreement with Juma Al Majid Group relates to three territories: UAE, Oman, and Qatar. In Oman and Qatar, where their equipment trading companies already sell the Volvo CE line, new companies have been started to sell Shantui.

Asif Khan, divisional manager of the equipment business unit, says that one of the major attractions for signing with Shantui was the diversity of its product range, as well as the build quality explains Khan.

In China, Shantui is best-known for its bulldozers, where it has secured a 65% market share. According to the company, it has been the largest producer of bulldozers in the world for the past three years. But Shantui - as it liked to remind its competitors - did not stop there.

It has a full range of earthmoving machines, more so, says Khan, than some of the other Chinese manufacturers which were considered in the initial stages.

“The product range that Shantui has makes us confident that we can cater to the market demands. Product diversity was also one of the key factors in deciding to go with Shantui.”

A common philosophy towards product and the market is also important, he explains.

“Shantui really believe in the first time fix, and 24/7, around-the-clock product support. And so do we. Service is the arm that plays a very important role in establishing the brand, and getting the brand accepted by the market.”

On Shantui’s side, part of the attraction in signing with Juma Al Majid Group was to have one partner for three territories, says Khan. “Shantui is a very good quality manufacturer, they have got the financial might, they are one of the major players in China.

To make a success in the region, one must plan the penetration into the market strategically, and Juma Al Majid Group will have the power to deliver to the market.” Overall, Khan says that for his group it has been a very informed and careful decision.

“Our owners have very good vision and foresight. They introduced Hyundai Motor Cars into the UAE many years ago, and today Hyundai brand is number four in the UAE, and brand awareness is very high globally. The situation with Shantui is similar.”

With Shantui machines to be sold by Genavco from early this month, both sides have been in frequent discussion, planning issues such as machine specification, support from Shantui, and Genavco’s establishment of a dedicated sales & marketing team as well as a service department.

PMV had the opportunity to speak with Genavco’s president, Isam Abu Nabah, and Chang Yang, general manager of Shantui Construction Machinery FZE, to witness both parties shake hands on their agreement.

Nabah emphasised the importance of the agreement. “Shantui is a well-known product, it is emerging, and it is known for its quality in the region. It needs to be promoted in a proper manner, and supported by a strong sales, service and marketing procedures.

“We have the capability to do this – we have promoted several international brands for a long time.”

The relationship is win-win, said Nabah, with both parties having a common vision towards the partnership.

“Both parties have shown willingness to cooperate to penetrate the market in the UAE. For us, it will definitely enhance our position and complement our existing range, and enable us to provide a more comprehensive business solution to our clients.”

Shantui have been in the GCC for seven years, and Yang explained that he was optimistic for the brand in the UAE, especiall after seeing the effort Genavco had made in hiring new sales and service staff for the Shantui line.

Yang said that the company would provide “100% support” to Genavco, and would look to make it into a successful model for Shantui partnerships. “Within one or two years we want to hold Genavco as a successful example, not only in the MENA area, but to use it as a good example all over the world. This is the way we want to treat it.”

And if the strength of Genavco’s other brands is anything to judge by, Shantui could soon be enjoying a strong market position in the UAE.Genavco’s product diversification means that they are achieving strong market growth in 2012, above 25%, says Khan.

With Wirtgen Group’s trio of road construction equipment they have managed strong sales, and the machines are a staple of any road project in the UAE. Khan says that while some areas in the equipment market are sluggish, road construction has been one obvious bright spot.

The products are popular because of continuous improvement from the manufacturer, with new models released every year explains Khan.

“The second most important factor is the product support, which is excellent.”
JLG aerial lift platforms is another area where they have strong sales, with the machines used in a wide range of applications, they have sold large orders to several rental companies. JLG is number one in the UAE market believes Khan, with a market share in the aerial work platform around 35-40%.”

Genavco sell Crown Forklifts, which are battery operated. Khan says have seen some lift in sales due to enforcement of regulation around use of electric forklift indoors.

“The government is now enforcing this rule, that electric forklifts only are to be used inside, and so the market size is increasing.”

Genavco was founded in 1967 by His Excellency Juma Al Majid, 17 years after he established the Juma Al Majid Group in 1950. While Genavco has operated in the UAE for 45 years, the company is still young in its willingness to take on new opportunities and expand.

“We are business hungry people, we keep on adding products. The hunger is never satisfied,” says Khan. Indeed, two more brands will be added this year, including the Turkish asphalt plant manufacturer Sigma.

Application engineering
One area where Genavco has seen a strong rise in sales is in engines and transmissions. In this they have been buoyed by a number of medium-sized companies relocating from elsewhere in the region into the UAE, attracted by a number of advantages and business incentives.

Companies include manufacturers of specialty vehicles, used in defence sector and in security.

“We have found some good partners with whom we do business, supplying Alison Transmissions and engines. We had never dreamt of supplying 50, 100, or 1000 units to any company, which is happening now,” says Khan.

The Oil & Gas sector is also a growing source of customers, and Genavco have built their presence there through offering improved solutions.

“Customers are becoming more and more demanding, they do not like merely to buy from product suppliers, they are looking for solution providers, so we have shifted our focus.

“Instead of providing just a product, we will provide a solution. We are supplying engines and transmissions coupled together, as well as accessories, to make them into a complete power pack.

“As a solution provider, you need to have an application engineering department, who looks at the application, and then provides a solution by integrating various components.”

Khan says that the advantage for end users is that they do not have to deal with tend different parties when putting a power pack into their system. Applications include any pump, oxidising unit, and items such as mud pumps, cementing units, or fire pumps.

Genavco’s application engineers build the prototype, and are involved in the commissioning and testing.

“We review the application, and then release the product for their regular production. After the successful test, we release that product as a standard release, and it is recorded in the OEM’s factory order book.”

Genavco is an established name in the UAE machinery market, but it has added to its product range by partnering with Chinese equipment manufacturer Shantui. PMV Middle East editor Stian Overdahl speaks with Genavco’s president Isam Abu Nabah, and Asif Khan, division manager of its equipment division, and Chang Yang, Shantui Construction Machinery FZE’s general manager.

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