During the The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016, I had the opportunity to interact with Effie Karras, the Export Director at Aluminco Aluminium Building Systems. Aluminco is a Greek company that has specialized in aluminium extrusions – that is, products made from aluminium sections.

Below is the short interview I had with Effie.

BARRACK: Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background and role at Aluminco?

EFFIE: I am the export manager at Aluminco. I focus on the commercial side of the business. However, I do know a lot about the technical details of all our products. I am also part of the management and ownership of Aluminco,

B: What are some of the products that you have?

EFFIE: Aluminco is an extruding company that focuses on  door and window systems as well as office partition systems, handrail systems and balustrades. We know there is good demand for some of our products here.

B: I have observed that your aluminium windows have a superior finish. What has gone into making them  outstanding?

EFFIE: When it comes to windows, a number of things determine the strength of the window and the overall system. The thickness of the profile is one factor. Their design has been executed very meticulously to ensure their sturdiness and insulation from water. As we manufacture, we ensure that these small details make the difference in the quality of the finished product.

B: Why is there a growing number of companies from Greece in Kenya?

EFFIE: Most Greek companies are targeting to increase export sales. And we believe that African countries are going to develop very fast – for instance, there are great developments in Kenya and East Africa – and this provides a good market. The market in Europe is a bit stagnated and saturated. On the contrary, most African countries present very good opportunities.

B: Is this your first time in Kenya? What are some of the observations that you have made?

EFFIE: Yes it is our first time here. We have observed that there is limited access to quality products in the local market and we think that, by looking at the quality of upcoming projects, the market will need reasonably good products.

B: What are you looking for in the Kenyan market? Why are you here?

EFFIE: We are looking to find distributors. We currently do not have any distributors locally.

B: What are some of the attributes that you are looking for in a local distributor?

EFFIE: We are looking for someone who is interested and will be able to distribute our range of products. Maybe not all the products that we have – maybe one or two. This way, we will be able to develop a market for our products. They should be able to import and hold our stock in the country and form linkages with project developers – both large and small scale developers, fabricators and contractors.

The distributors should also inform us on what is really needed in the market and this will help us understand the market better and know what to supply.

B: Thank you Effie and we wish you the best as you plan to expand your business in the region

EFFIE: Thank you too