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Trends in the Israeli Paint Industry - An Interview with Tambour's Michael Dayan

December 11, 2013

Tambour is the largest Israeli paint manufacturer. The firm operates six production facilities in Israel for architectural paints, industrial paints, powder coatings, printing inks, acrylic emulsion, resins and other coatings. Michael Dayan is the CEO of Tambour. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Technion Institution and master's degree in systems engineering from UCLA. He also holds a master's degree in political science from Haifa University. Prior to working at Tambour, he held a senior position in the army and has been CEO of Hatachof Co., CEO of Argo Co., CEO of Tzah Serafon Co. and VP of worldwide operations at Macroprints Nur Co.

Coatings World recently had the opportunity to interview Michael Dayan on the Israeli paint market and his involvement in the Nova Paint Club.

1.  What are the top five paint and coatings companies in Israel and the surrounding area.

Of course, Israel is in an unusual position in terms of regional competition. In Israel itself, Tambour is the leading paint company, followed by Nirlat. In the West Bank area, we face competition from ICI (through Jordan), Yaacoby (an importer), BG Technology and Decoline.

2.  How does the Israeli market for coatings differ from that of North America?

The Israeli market is still growing, but doesn't have the same DIY element you see in the USA - we find our market to be tilted heavily towards BIY. So, we don't have a big box market to compare with North America and it's really unusual to find paint companies running their own stores - Tambour only has two shops out of a total of 1200 in the country. The color preferences are different too. There's a real focus on off-whites and light neutral colors here - deep colors are much less popular. However, there's a thriving market in new innovations, such as faux finishes and special effects. It's fair to say that in terms of ecological advances in coatings,  we are a few steps behind the USA. We're only at the start of a move towards low and zero VOC products, which already have considerable traction in the North American market.

3.  How has the economic crisis affected the market for paints and coatings?

We've been lucky in the sense that although some customers have looked for better value for money in what they buy, there's not been a significantly negative effect on the market.

4.  Do you think recovery will begin in 2014?

Obviously a big driver of growth for us is the housing market and in particular new builds. In the USA and much of Europe there's been a collapse in this market, whereas we've seen an increase in house-building from mid-2009 until mid-2011. Although this has tailed off slightly, the levels of house-building are still higher than in 2008. This has protected us from the downturn and so we view the notion of a recovery in a slightly different way to many other markets.

5.  What are some key trends in the Israeli paint and coatings market (Smart coatings, Green coatings, etc.)?

Unquestionably, the Israeli market is moving towards high performance and PC coatings. Green-labelled coatings and those that are highly functional are also taking center stage.

6.  In what areas do you think paint and coatings manufacturers to the Israeli market need to focus their R&D?

We're certainly looking at the high performance end of the market and because we're confident that these are going to be the drivers of growth in Israel, this is where we're focusing our R&D right now.

7.  What are  the key  benefits  that  Tambour has  enjoyed  since joining the  Nova Paint Club. 

Tambour was one of the first companies to join Nova - we've been members since 1987, although the group formed in 1983 - and we've found it's benefited us in a wide variety of ways. By working with our Nova partners, we've been able to make considerable savings on materials we buy from key vendors. We're also heavily involved in common R&D projects - sharing information on new technologies with other members - and in benchmarking our R&D, production, marketing and management data. Through Nova we know where we stand in terms of delivering at the highest level in all of these areas. The group also gives us the chance to visit other companies' facilities, learn about new technologies and share information and ideas on technical issues through the Nova Club's secure online forums.

8.  In what  specific  areas  are  Tambour  currently  cooperating  with other  Nova  members-

At the moment, we're looking in particular at cost-saving activities right across the business - something everyone can benefit from. We're also working on some common technical projects and are sharing our know-how in areas like protective coatings, powder coatings and wood finishes. And, as I mentioned, benchmarking through the Nova group is an ongoing activity for us. We're also doing some great work in marketing right now - we've held  successful workshops for global colour forecasting and trends, and have enjoyed the benefits of jointly purchasing marketing materials, such as colour cards and fan decks. We continue to see a real practical benefit of our membership of the Nova Paint Club in all areas of Tambour's business operations.

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