Why is Kanoo's latest acquisition so important?

Mishal Kanoo reveals how Stor-mat compliments Kanoo Group's offerings.
Mishal Kanoo, deputy chairman, Kanoo Group
Mishal Kanoo, deputy chairman, Kanoo Group


Mishal Kanoo, deputy chairman of Kanoo Group, explains why material handling specialist Stor-mat is the perfect compliment to its divesified portfolio.

Kanoo Group has a rich history and diversified portfolio. Explain your company and your goals.
We have a proud history of over 120 years of entrepreneurial experience here at Kanoo group. Presently we employ 4,000 staff, with another 6,000 working in various joint-venture companies. We are involved in a number of sectors including shipping, travel and holidays, machinery, oil & gas, engineering, and power and industrial projects, to name just a few. The company operates through more than 15 divisions and on top of the work, the group has entered into joint ventures with some of the world’s leading companies such as AXA, AKZO Nobel, BASF, Maersk, Freightworks, Wolffkran, plus many others. Looking to the future, we wish to sustain growth and continue to drive initiatives that reflect our values of caring, global teamwork and continuous improvement.

What is Stor-mat and why was it attractive for Kanoo Group to acquire?
Stor-mat is one of only a few, locally based storage and material handling companies, with the in-house expertise to carry out the design of complex storage facilities. There is a strong demand for material handling in the region and we have taken over Stor-mat Systems to satisfy this demand. The global potential of the material handling services sector is growing fast and the acquisition promises attractive returns as there is a strong potential for expansion in the region. With this acquisition, Stor-Mat Systems will be the newest addition to the fourteen divisions of the Kanoo Group and will further complement our existing equipment offerings of Hyster and Ailsemaster. Stor-Mat systems, with the Kanoo Group, will fill a gap in the market for a professionally run storage and material handling company.

Will the company (Stor-mat) be rebranded? Will there be any changes to management / staff?
Stor-Mat Systems is a well established company, very effective and professional in what it does. In the short term, there is certainly no need to change the Stor-Mat brand as it is seen as a quality supplier to the market. Mr Burns, who brings with him extensive experience, will continue to run the operation and grow the new division. In our opinion, there is no one in the whole of the UAE with his knowledge or expertise.

How else do you plan to develop Stor-mat?
In the short term, the goal is to create the best storage and materials handling company in the United Arab Emirates. Stor-Mat Systems are capable of carrying out the design and installation of any type or size of racking or shelving project, any type of automated storage facility, any type or size of idle roller conveyor installation, ball mat installations or belt conveyor installations, small parts binning installation, or any other form of special storage facility. Given these capabilities, we see tremendous opportunities to develop Stor-mat. In the long term, because Kanoo operates throughout the GCC, after some consolidation here, we will look to expand the business geographically.

How has the market reacted to this acquisition so far?
It’s early days so far, but the signs are very positive and good enquiries have come from sources that we would not have necessarily expected, especially now that it is a Kanoo company.

Can we expect more acquisitions in the future to support your material handling division?
We are currently looking at one other, but we cannot give any further details at this early stage.

What are your predictions for the future of the material handling sector in the Middle East?
We are very optimistic for Kanoo Group’s future. With recent explorations into dynamic industries, we have a lot to look forward to. In terms of the materials handling sector, even through the difficult times, the sector has shown growth and as more companies come to the region we expect that to continue. There is a change of focus on how major companies now look at handling to be non core and opportunities will continue to rise in this area.

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