Dubai, UAE: The Middle East and Africa (MEA) remains a major growth market for paper, stationery, and office supplies, with European manufacturers viewing the region as a key customer base that has high demand for printed media products.
Fast-growing retail, education and SME (Small Medium Enterprise) sectors means the market for books, news and stationery across the MEA is estimated to be worth US$12 billion by 2019, growing 3.3 per cent annually, according to a 2015 report by analysts Conlumino.
This is reflected in the fortunes of Portuguese manufacturer The Navigator Company, the world’s 6th largest producer of printing and writing paper, which has for the last seven years expanded its sales in the Middle East by more than 17 per cent annually.
The recently rebranded company, formerly known as grupo Portucel Soporcel, will be eager to increase its presence further when it lines up alongside more than 280 exhibitors from 36 countries at Paperworld Middle East 2016, which takes place from 1-3 March at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Hermano Mendonça, The Navigator Company’s Marketing Director, said strong sales in the Middle East has led the company to represent more than 50 per cent of European exports to the region, as it seeks more distributor partnerships through exhibiting at the three-day trade show in Dubai.
“In the first nine months of 2015, The Navigator Company accrued a 4.1 per cent growth in global sales to export markets, with continued expansion into new regions and growing penetration in Latin America and the Middle East,” said Mendonça.
“Paperworld Middle East is a key platform to showcase our products to a growing customer base in the region. Our commercial strategy of focusing on premium products and strong mill brands matches the expectations of both distributors and consumers, which is one of the drivers to support our return to Dubai for our 4th year as an exhibitor.”
The Navigator Company will exhibit at a Portuguese Pavilion at Paperworld Middle East 2016, the region’s largest trade fair for paper, office supplies, and stationery. Makenotes, another Portuguese exhibitor participating for the first time, will showcase its latest collections of notebooks, sketchbooks, stationery, backpacks, and other Back To School items at the dedicated annual event.
Miguel Gomes, Business Leader at Makenotes, said the company will bring a multi-ethnic element to its product range this year, in an effort to appeal to the varying tastes of diverse cultures that is synonymous with the wider region.
“We will present new collections inspired by colours and themes of African, Islamic and Portuguese cultures, including ochre and metallic tones, and tile patterns and designs,” said Gomes.
“Our collections offers a wide range of patterns, models and sizes for different personal use; stationery, notebooks, diaries, pencil cases, backpacks, among many others. They will no doubt be extremely popular among distributors, retailers, and wholesalers throughout the Middle East and Africa.”
The strong European presence at Paperworld Middle East will be complemented by country pavilions from Germany and Italy, with household stationery names such as Lamy, Durable, Olympia, all taking part. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Pakistan and China make up the other country pavilions.
“With the Middle East continuing to post encouraging rates of growth and continuously expanding its industrial and commercial infrastructure, the region has raised its profile as one of the major consumers of paper products and stationery,” said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the organiser of Paperworld Middle East.
“The widening international character of Paperworld Middle East underscores the growing number of international players looking to engage with the regional market.”
Paperworld Middle East 2016 is expected attract more than 6,000 trade buyers from 105 countries and will return with popular features including the Green Office Area, a dedicated section that showcases sustainably produced essential office supplies; the Wrapstar gift wrapping competition; and the Paperworld Recycling Competition, an inspirational showcase of sculptures created by UAE school children and made entirely from recycled school stationery