Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 September 2023, 21:50 by Denis Chabrol
The Trinidad-headquartered Ans McAl group of companies on Tuesday formally announced the establishment of a US$15 million subsidiary, Ansa Building Solutions (ABS) in Guyana that will eventually cater for various aspects of the infrastructure sector including laboratory and other tests.
Initially, the company is employing 45 more persons and is offering paint with mixtures that can generate more than 2,000 colours. Officials said Guyanese would be sent to Trinidad for training in painting. The paint is said to have been made to suit the Caribbean’s weather conditions.
In the long-term, the company is eyeing the construction of a concrete block-making factory on 82 acres of land at Wales, West Bank Demerara, even as it will distribute both concrete and fire-resistant but cooler clay blocks which are being manufactured in Trinidad to international standards.
Two paint shops have been already opened and are offering leading brands in “an array of colours and specifically designed to withstand our weather in this region,” Ansa McAl’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Anthony N Sabga III said.
Head of Construction at Ansa McAl , Christian Llanos told a reception to mark ABS (Guyana) Inc’s establishment that plans for Guyana are aimed at providing “solutions” to problems, some scientifically for particular environments. “If someone has a certain solution, a problem that they have, they can come to us and we can help solve that problem together. We have technical resources in our lab in Trinidad where we have even people with PhDs,” he said. Financially, he said ABS Guyana could facilitate “instant credit for small contractors”.
He announced that the Ansa McAl Group intends to invest another US$12.5 million in infrastructure in Guyana to provide other products and solutions other than coatings and blocks. He said the company plans to spend US$250,000 in training technical staff to run the factories that would be built, serviced and repaired. “We’re actually planning to take Guyanese to Trinidad, train them on the machinery, bring the machinery back to Guyana,” he said.
The construction sector of the company has seven factories in four countries with plans to have eight factories in five countries, in keeping with its “growth and development” thrust, he added.
Mr Llanos alluded to the fact that Ansa McAl was working on a trade school curriculum to train installers for certain products, autobody workmen how to use the products properly to achieve a pr0fessional finish and long-lasting. He said that training programme for contractors would be rolled out in all “our markets” including Guyana, “a critical one.” “We will bring people here to train the population, to train workers, to train and bring up the skills of staff so a lot of what we are about is training our team because the growth that Guyana is only possible with good people,” he said.
Mr Sabga noted that in more than 30 years the company has quadrupled its footprint in Guyana and since then has paid more than GY$60 billion in taxes and sponsor sport and cultural events as well as the Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence.
Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill encouraged Ansa McAl to invest even more in Guyana, highlighting that that company has been here since the 1990s before oil and gas “so they’re not a johnny-come-lately.” He advised the company to continue to take risks now that it has seen its success, and there was no reason to fear being stifled by competitors. “Ansa McAl if you have another product or another business that you want to launch, you seem to be wanting to take over the whole Caribbean which is a good thing, you’ve been everywhere, registering companies,” he said. Ansa McAl has 60 registered companies across the Caribbean.
Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Komal Singh thanked Ansa McAl for “having the faith in our country and in our economy”. “The Private Sector Commission sees you as a strategic business partner and not as a competitor coming into our economy and into our market,” he said. He encouraged Ansa McAl to collaborate closely with Guyanese companies in the long-term.
Sections of Guyana’s private sector have been concerned about the increasing number of Trinidad and Tobago businesses that have been setting up operations here especially within the past five years since the discovery of commercially viable oil deposits offshore Guyana.