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For AVOD, food a priority

Article - November 14, 2012
During these difficult and volatile times, the Omani company has managed to progress both at home, with its market leading brands, and abroad
Despite the various challenges faced, Areej Vegetable Oils & Derivatives (AVOD) has truly stood the test of time. Having been established in 1982, the company overcame the crash of oil prices in 1985 to later become the thriving business it is today.

It is now one of the 15 largest companies in Oman, and employs around 600 workers. The company manufactures and markets products such as cooking oils, margarines, mayonnaise and butter products. With AVOD currently expanding and preparing to construct a new facility, these are heady days for this vibrant firm.

Prem Maker, executive director of the company explains as to how it has become successful in Oman and also carved out an export niche

“We are dominant in the local market with almost 70% market share in Oman, which we cover with 30% of our total output. Another 60% of our balance goes to the GCC countries, and the remaining 10% goes to the Middle East,” he said.

“We also have niche products for export where we partner with distributors’ brands. We are becoming the hub for supporting the manufacturing activities of multinational companies such as Kraft, Unilever and Heinz in the business of oils, fats, margarine and mayonnaise in the GCC and North Africa.”

The group, he said, is “fully automated and vertically integrated”. It has in place the SAP management system and company workers enjoy working in a modern computer-aided environment. Technology is imported and the group is well capable of dealing with technical issues in maintenance and project work.

AVOD has greatly enhanced Oman’s employment prospects. Maker explains that the company employs around 600 people, around 60% of whom are Omanis. However, Maker is not content merely with what has been achieved. Instead he has a keen eye on the future.

“We have to be proactive. Even though there are skills which are not available in Oman today, we are committed to training the local workforce and developing Omanis in the skills they can pick up quickly,” he said.

Employees are given substantial benefits. Private medical insurance is provided by the firm for workers and special attention is given to developing the strengths of the local workforce, and AVOD does its utmost to create a good working atmosphere. Any wonder that it is going further than many other firms.