Exclusive interview with Mr. Vijay Nambiar, the managing director of Magna Tyres Middle East and Africa FZC, an exhibitor at the upcoming Nigeria Mining Week in Abuja in November.
Let’s start with some background on your company, what your services entail and where in the world you are active?
Magna Tyres was founded in the year 2006 in Waalwijk, The Netherlands, to meet the ever-growing demand for OTR* tyres. Since then, we have grown into 132 countries with our premium quality OTR tyres specialized in port handling, mining, agriculture, industrial, earthmoving equipment, cranes and TBR. We have collaborated with many leading OEMs like Liebherr, Terex, Kalmar, Terborg, Doosan etc. and many renowned end users across the globe which has led to our 14 sales offices worldwide and the 15th one to open in India soon.
*OTR = off the road
Any specific projects or success stories that you are particularly proud of and want to share?
In a short span of time Magna Tyres has become an established name in the international tyre industry due to our hands-on mentality and the ability to deliver what we promise. Today, we are more diverse and globally connected than ever before.
Where in Africa are you focusing for future growth?
Africa as a whole has tremendous economic opportunities and has the potential to go much further. We would like to focus on African mines, as we are already supplying in the region to many large operators. We look forward to expanding this presence through many local operators and dealers in various countries of Africa. To support this growth plan, we already have a regional office in South Africa and are planning to start in other regions like west, east and north.
How important is Nigeria for your company? And the mining industry in particular?
Nigeria adds great significance to our business growth; even though the mining industry is small scaled in the country, every drop matters to Magna. Nigeria is an inevitable partner for the regional growth considering the sea port access, larger opportunity due to port facility and connectivity to other land-locked countries.
Mining in Nigeria is promising to flourish if tapped into. Nigeria is endowed with various mineral resources, like gold, iron ore, coal, lead–zinc, limestone, copper, lithium and many more. Developing the mines, Nigeria can avoid import of minerals that it could potentially produce domestically.
How did Covid impact your operations? What did you learn from the pandemic?
The impact was comparatively minimal to the tyre industry and for Magna. During the pandemic, we put in place immediate measures to act in time to support our customers and learned to work in harmony with our existing customers. However, developing new customers was difficult due to lack of site visits as being an operational-specific manufacturer. Post pandemic, we are regaining the momentum and the demand is increasing.
What is your vision for your operations in Nigeria and the region? Are there particular challenges?
Our vision is to grow in the Nigerian market as the second largest tyre supplier of OTR tyres, which will reduce the delivery and lead time to neighbouring countries as well, enhancing our regional business. The forex situations and economic condition could be a challenge.
What will be your message at the upcoming Nigeria Mining Week in Abuja?
Currently, all operators are looking for a cost-effective solution. By providing operation-specific tyres, we at Magna Tyres always work close to the users to help them achieve the maximum out of their achievement.
How excited are you about being part of the first live Nigeria Mining Week since the pandemic?
It’s a comeback for Magna and the mining show. We are excited to meet in person our partners and fellow people from the same industry. This kind of a show provides the platform to socialize and take it to further level here on to share thoughts and experiences. New opportunities and new learnings are expected.