First unit abroad opens in 2023 to facilitate exportation logistics to Americas, Europe and Africa; expected production totals 40 tonnes per month
Ana Oliva — Foto: Divulgação
Japi, a Jundiaí-based manufacturer of sanitary ware and gardening accessories, is preparing its first unit abroad, in the Dominican Republic.
The plant is expected to start operating by March 2023, said Ana Oliva, Japi’s director and chair of Astra, a company of the same group, founded by her grandfather, which makes from toilet seats to bathtubs and housewares.
The initial investment for the Caribbean unit is $5 million, and the goal is to expand the base of countries attended by Japi’s exports, which today totals 35 nations. “It is meant to serve North America, Europe, Africa, and Central America, to facilitate logistics for these regions,” he said.
Currently, 30% to 35% of Japi’s revenues, expected to reach R$150 million this year, come from exports.
As Ms. Oliva explains, one of the best-selling products for other countries is the line of plastic garden vases that imitate ceramics. “They are extremely light. We have intelligent pots for vertical gardens and also pots signed by designers,” he said. The Dominican production will be focused on gardening items. Japi expects to produce 40 tonnes per month in the new unit.
The Dominican plant will also help expand domestic production, freeing up space in the Jundiai plant. The company currently occupies a manufacturing area of 20,000 square meters in the city located 50 kilometers far from São Paulo. Astra also has a manufacturing site in Pernambuco. “Japi has a more restricted area situation, I need to create new strategies to grow,” she said.
Japi was created 30 years ago and started as an importer of the products it manufactures today. As the years went by, said Ms. Oliva, the company began to produce more and more of its own items.
The change came in handy since the beginning of the pandemic when trade with China became more complicated and time-consuming. If before the company executives traveled up to five times a year to the Asian country to monitor orders and maintain product quality control, today this is impossible. “Bringing things from China is complex. There is certainly a business opportunity for Brazil to serve its market and countries that used to buy from China,” she said.
Astra is the first company of the group, which was founded 65 years ago, and has also a construction company and a financial services company. Combined, Astra’s and Japi’s revenues are expected to reach R$1 billion in 2022, the same as last year.
Initially, the executive expected an increase in sales this year, but the performance of the construction material sector was lower than in 2021. The Brazilian Association of the Construction Materials Industry (Abramat) projects a 2.2% drop in sales for the year.
“We expected a better year, but the market settled down, so we can’t complain,” she said.
For 2023, Japi’s and Astra’s sales are expected to increase 10%, said Ms. Oliva. “We are returning to the growth rate we had before the pandemic.”
The company sees more incentives for civil construction next year, especially for low-income clients, which drives its forecast.
Astra’s and Japi’s products are mostly aimed at the low-income segment, although both companies have premium lines as well. “We are working to diversify the product mix, with a line signed by architects, and design items, but it is a smaller part of the products. Our strength is the low-income public,” she said.
Both Astra and Japi faced raw material price increases last year and also in 2022, and it was not possible to pass on the entire cost increase to the final prices, said Ms. Oliva. The company increased prices by about 20% last year and started working with tighter margins.
What reassures the executive is that it is “a very down-to-earth company”, which has not leveraged. “We have zero debt, we do everything with our own funds,” she said.
*By Ana Luiza Tieghi — São Paulo
Source: Valor International