The Chairman's Story

Fifteen years ago my new journey commenced. Having sixty years of established family presence and business in Africa and twenty-two years of successful presence in Western Europe (primarily France, Switzerland and partly Holland), I dreamt of shifting my business ventures from Africa and Europe to the Middle East.

I commenced on this historic journey by identifying the countries I considered ideologically friendly, my first choice being my home country Lebanon. I then looked into the neighboring countries of Syria, Iraq and Iran. In consideration of these options, I moved my headquarters from Geneva to Beirut and started visiting these three countries.

In my search to seek legitimate and ethical business areas to invest in and after many visits, I looked into the various opportunities available. I was emotionally driven to Karbala and Najaf in Iraq, and to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Here I was advised by some friends to invest in the deprived areas. The choice went to the Margoon district in Koklohyie and Boyer Ahmed province, whose capital is Yasuj city. After performing a feasibility study and the other necessary studies we opted to enter the cement industry.

We painfully through hard work achieved this project and brought it up to standard amongst the best cement quality and management in the country

In early 2006 we established and Iranian company and applied for the necessary permits for the establishment of a cement factory in this province. Given all the relevant studies a permit was granted by the local authorities that same year.

We embarked on this journey with a team of professional, legal, technical and financial consultants. We obtained the land from the government and upon completion of the plans; structural and design drawings (amongst others), we commenced the civil structures. In parallel we started the preparations of the steel structures, excavation, equipments and machinery studies (both local and foreign). This was a new domain I had chosen to venture into, thus the long and arduous journey began.

We resorted to local contractors and machinery, however to be competitive and efficient we also need the latest European equipment and machinery. In order to be able to purchase the latter for a country restricted by embargo, upon each order we had to prove that the machinery was for a cement project and would not be diverted to anything or anywhere else.

Securing the necessary permits from local authorities in all matters related to or affected by the project (from land to technical and environmental studies and such) required much work. Furthermore, financing such a large scale industrial project proved to be a source of sleepless nights. It took ten years of continuous hard work under difficult circumstances.

With the years came unexpected economic and political changes in Iran, the region and the world as a whole. However, this did not weaken our resolve and determination to complete the project. Along the journey some shareholders were lost and this caused a few setbacks in the project’s advancement. This delayed the completion date and in turn increased costs. Nevertheless, we and the remaining shareholders stood firm and carried this burden upon our ourselves, for we believed in this project and were determined to see it through till the end.

Once the construction phase was completed, we immediately commenced operations after a long anticipated wait. When the production process started our strategy was to ensure all departments (Operations, Administrative, Marketing, R&D etc) were ready and in full operation to proceed smoothly.

Each of the latter headed by professionals and experienced managers in the respective fields. We choose to monitor all aspects of the factory with emphasis on modern technology, such as a real time 24h monitoring software for online operational, administrative and quality ensured products.

Marketing our brand was a challenging process. We opted for a three tier market strategy. Our first target market is the province where we operate. Our second are the neighboring provinces. Our third target market are international exports.

In order to secure our share of our targeted market segments we had to produce high quality products with an online hourly laboratory testing 24hrs a day.

In a much shorter time than anticipated, demand rose. Our competitive edge was quality, especially high quality type 142-5 and type 152-5.

To ensure professionalism we worked towards and obtained ISO 9001, 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certifications. Further certifications were granted such as the CE certification of consistency of performance for all our products. We also hold the Iran standard certification for the local market.

In conclusion, we painfully through hard work achieved this project and brought it up to standard amongst the best cement quality and management in the country and look forward to more improvements and expansion in this business and businesses associated with it.

— Abbas Fawaz, Chairman