OMET opens packaging for APP

Lebanon’s Arab Printing Press (APP) is diversifying from commercial print into labels and flexible packaging with an OMET X6
By Benjamin Daniel (thanks to Packaging MEA for authorization)

Beirut-based Arab Printing Press (APP) is embarking in packaging with a $1.5m investment including an OMET X6 press. With its eye on the growth markets of food and beverages, APP is looking to establish itself with new clients through an emphasis on quality, said Elie Raphael, APP chairman & general manager to Packaging MEA.

“Quality, that’s what we stand for. Over the years we have collected a substantial number of awards, recognitions, and ISO certifications all due to our hard work, thus ensuring quality concerning management, production, and client servicing.”

Paolo Grasso, export sales manager for OMET, commended APP’s choice of a narrow-web machine that can enable it to offer a premium service. “It is the correct move at the perfect time as the narrowweb flexo industry is developing too fast and nobody could afford to miss it at this stage,” he said. “Mr Elie not only had a long-term vision. He is also highly ambitious and this made him choose OMET among other well-known brands because of technology and support.

Having the opportunity to choose from a wide range of machines, Mr Elie decided to enter the label business right from the top, without any compromise. “I still remember our initial meetings where I was the one trying to convince him that a simpler, cheaper machine would have done the job for him equally well, since APP were just starting. But Mr Elie’s working style is very correct: the best or nothing. This is how he and his family have made APP the market leader and this is how he prefers to continue play in the busy market of labels.”

Based in the heart of Beirut’s Sid El Bauchrieh industrial area, APP was founded in 1968 and currently employs 120 staff working across print jobs such as books, annual reports, stamps, and labels for clients across EMEA. Its sister companies are RAK Paper & Board in Beirut, Imprisud in Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire, and Al Khayal in Baghdad, Iraq.  Raphael said the company’s move into packaging was prompted by commercial print’s decline, especially in the magazine sector. “That’s what prompted us to seek other opportunities for growth,” he said. “We opted for labels and packaging simply because we saw a huge potential in the segment.”

The decision to make this move with an OMET X6 was “unanimous”, he said. “During the initial talks with different manufacturers we felt that there was a synergy between the sales manager from OMET and us. I mean the Italians outperformed all the rest in every aspect.” The company has also acquired an inspection and slitting machine and depending on market demand will invest in further converting operations, said Raphael. APP will initially rely on local suppliers for plate making. “In the future, if need be, we will invest in an in-house solution,” he said. Within labels and packaging, the company will focus on food and beverages, he added. “In Lebanon we see rapid growth in the food and beverages segment only because more and more producers are seeking new markets to export their goods. Hence the demand for labels and packaging is growing. As far as the rest, we are still assessing the local, regional, and international markets.”